Atlantic City Casino Revenue Continues Decline, iGaming Continues Growth

Posted on: June 19, 2023, 03:23h. 

Last updated on: June 19, 2023, 04:06h.

Atlantic City casino revenue at the nine physical casinos down the shore totaled a little more than $227.3 million last month. The brick-and-mortar haul for May 2023 represented a 2.4% year-over-year decline from May 2022 when the casinos won more than $233 million.

Atlantic City casino revenue New Jersey gaming
The on-ramp to the Atlantic City Expressway. Atlantic City casinos experienced reduced win on their nine gaming floors in May 2023 compared with May 2022. But statewide gaming, inclusive of iGaming and sports betting, fared well. (Image: NBC10 Philadelphia)

Both May 2023 and May 2022 featured eight weekend days, plus the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. But despite the similar comparables, retail play last month tumbled.

Borgata retained its top position in the market with land-based gaming win of approximately $60.5 million. That was a 4.5% loss from May 2022.

Hard Rock, the second-richest casino in town, won nearly $38.8 million on its physical floor, a 6.5% year-over-year drop. Ocean Casino ranked third at $29.8 million, which was a rare bright spot last month, as that represented a 17% improvement.

Tropicana’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) was $21.6 million, a negligible 0.2% decline, while Harrah’s placed fifth at $19 million, down more than 10%. Caesars’ in-person income was $18.3 million, a nearly 10% decline. Resorts revenue declined 5% to $13.4 million, and Bally’s won $13.2 million, a 4% increase. Golden Nugget commanded the smallest market share at just $12.7 million, a 1% drop.

May 2023 marked the second month in a row where in-person play was lower compared with the same month in 2022. April retail income was also down about 2%.

iGaming Covers Losses

Though in-person play was subdued last month in Atlantic City, online casino platforms easily made up for the declines.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) revealed that online slots and table games won $159.1 million from gamblers last month. Internet poker fees added $2.3 million to bring May iGaming GGR to approximately $161.4 million. The online win represents an 18.7% surge on May 2022.

Oddsmakers also fared well in May, as sportsbook revenue climbed over 33% to $82.1 million. The sports betting income includes retail sportsbooks at Atlantic City casinos and at the three racetrack sportsbooks in New Jersey, plus online sports wagering.

In total, New Jersey’s gaming industry generated May 2023 gross revenue of $420.9 million. That’s 9.4% higher than the same month last year.

James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said in a release provided to that despite the brick-and-mortar losses, May 2023 was a strong performance for the statewide gaming industry.

Atlantic City’s casino win was lower compared to the same month last year. While most of the casinos won less at the gaming tables and slot machines, it was still Atlantic City’s second-best May in nine years,” Plousis explained. “Internet gaming win and sports wagering revenue continued to be strong, helping push Atlantic City’s total gaming revenue to over $400 million for a third consecutive month,” Plousis added.

Year-to-date, GGR climbed past the $2 billion mark to $2.031 billion following May’s numbers. Plousis said 2023 marks the fastest the state gaming industry has eclipsed the $2 billion mark in any given year.

Not All Revenue Equal

Despite the positive spin, May’s gaming report for Atlantic City’s physical operations presents additional evidence that the New Jersey casino town is struggling. Executives with the casinos, responding to efforts to eliminate indoor smoking, say they keep only a fraction of the iGaming revenue, as much of that income is shared with their third-party interactive partners.

The Casino Association of New Jersey, the lobbying group that represents the casinos’ interests in Trenton, has warned state lawmakers that eliminating indoor smoking would likely hurt in-person revenue by 25%.