Atlantic City casinos aren’t weathering the cold winter months, as February marked the town’s third consecutive gross gaming revenue (GGR) decline.
The seven casinos collectively generated total gaming win of $192 million. That’s a 6.5 percent loss, or more than $13.3 million, compared to the same month in 2017.
Online gambling continues to grow, as internet sites pulled in just shy of $22 million in GGR, a 17.5 percent increase. The interactive games helped offset a nine percent drop at land-based operations.
While state regulators typically try to rub off down months, New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman Jim Plousis made no bones about February’s cold shoulder to the Associated Press.
“Let’s face it, February was a weak month,” Plousis admitted. “Business was off at virtually every casino. I am hopeful that casinos can turn this around and start expanding the market as we move into the busier spring and summer seasons.”
The Borgata once again led the way in terms of GGR. The Marina District venue made $58.76 million, but that’s a loss of five percent.
Golden Nugget was the only casino to post a February gain. Thanks largely to its internet gaming win, which surged over 52 percent, the marina resort saw its GGR climb 16 percent to $25 million.
Atlantic City is coming off its second annual gross gaming revenue gain after enduring nine years of declines and the closure of five casinos. But the town has now seen GGR drop 0.5 percent in December, 9.9 percent in January, and 6.5 percent last month.
Plousis blamed a January blizzard for that month’s dismal performance. And while the weather wasn’t exactly inviting in February, regulators are beginning to voice their concerns publicly.
Christopher Glaum, bureau chief of financial investigations for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, told the Press of Atlantic City this week, “With difficult weather conditions persisting into March, it is hard to gauge the market. But we are hopeful that the industry will ultimately experience revenue growth in 2018.”
Through the first two months, Atlantic City casinos are $33,667,952 short compared to where they stood at this time last year.
More Where That Came From
Some gaming analysts believed Atlantic City becoming a seven-casino town was a sort of “right-sizing” for the market. Back-to-back annual GGR increases seem to support that theory, but it will be tested in the months ahead when new gaming floors open.
Hard Rock Atlantic City is slated to open the reimagined Trump Taj Mahal sometime this summer. The former Revel is as well, under the guise of Ocean Resort Casino.
And smack in the middle of those two Boardwalk behemoths, the owner of the Showboat recently began the process of obtaining a gaming permit, though the developer hasn’t fully committed to reopening the casino.
Regardless, the beachfront destination will almost certainly become a nine-casino town by the end of the year. Fitch Ratings maintains that “is not great for Atlantic City.”