Atlantic City Casinos Feel the Chill for January with Gaming Revenue Drops of 10 Percent, Blizzard Blamed

Posted on: February 15, 2018, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2018, 11:08h.

Atlantic City casinos saw gross gaming revenue skid 9.9 percent in January due to a severe blizzard that blanketed parts of southern New Jersey last month with up to two feet of snow shortly after the new year arrived.

Atlantic City casino revenue
Atlantic City casinos are digging out after a bitter cold January that impacted revenues, including a January 4 blizzard that blasted the resort town. (Image: Edward Lea/Press of Atlantic City)

With travel nearly impossible after the January 4th storm, fewer gamblers made their way to the beachfront town. That led to AC casinos reporting total gaming win of $184.3 million, which was $20.3 million less than the $204.6 million generated during the same month in 2017.

Gaming win was down across the board for land-based operations. Slot machines kept 11.4 percent fewer dollars, while table games sunk more than 15 percent. Combined, brick-and-mortar gaming revenue was down 12.6 percent.

“What a difference a blizzard makes,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis said. “When people are stuck in their homes by more than a foot of snow and temperatures are dipping into single digits, they don’t come to Atlantic City. So, it comes as no surprise that casino revenues were down.”

Borgata continues to dominate Atlantic City. The Marina District resort posted total land-based and online win of $57.77 million, more than double that of the Tropicana, which came in second at $26.18 million.

Atlantic City is fresh off its second consecutive annual gaming revenue gain, with the seven remaining brick-and-mortar casinos winning $2.65 billion last year. The city’s revitalization comes following nine years of declines that hit between 2007 and 2015, and which was hinged on both the 2008 recession and the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

Internet Saves the Day

Fortunately, bad weather does keep folks inside and online, and internet gaming revenues fared much better in January. Internet gambling win for operators was up almost 17 percent, with the websites generating nearly $22 million.

The Golden Nugget dominated online operations, and did so in record fashion. The casino won $7.3 million online, a 52.8 percent surge.

“No other New Jersey online casino licensee has even eclipsed the $5 million threshold,” internet gambling analyst Steve Ruddock told the Press of Atlantic City. “The Golden Nugget’s pace-setting is the result of solid management, a strong platform and its willingness to innovate, such as the launch of live-dealer games.”

Golden Nugget’s closest online competitor was Borgata at $4.15 million.

Sports Betting Appeal

AC experts say a slow start won’t rain on the town’s 2018 overall parade, as there’s much to look forward to in the 11 months ahead. A mild February thus far could more than make up for January’s losses, and with both Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casinos opening later this year, New Jersey is expected to report its third straight annual gaming revenue increase.

Another potential game changer could come by way of sports betting. Should the US Supreme Court rule in New Jersey’s favor that the current PASPA federal ban violates the Constitution, sportsbooks could be up and running at Atlantic City casinos in a matter of months.