Atlantic City Casinos Grow Gaming Revenue 13 Percent, But Is It Enough to Support Nine Resorts Long-Term?

Posted on: August 15, 2018, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: August 15, 2018, 07:29h.

Atlantic City casinos posted gross gambling revenue (GGR) of $302 million last month, an almost 13 percent year-over-year premium. But looking ahead, gaming industry analysts say larger growth is needed in order to support the expanded market.

Atlantic City casino revenue Hard Rock
Hard Rock had the Atlantic City Boardwalk packed in July, but analysts ponder whether it will continue. (Image: HBO Boxing)

The nine casinos won $272.32 million on their land-based floors. Paired with online gambling ($25.89 million), the haul was $298.2 million. During the same month in 2017, the seven casinos collectively won $267.85 million, meaning comparative brick-and-mortar operations were up 11.3 percent.

Sports betting, which wasn’t permitted in New Jersey a year ago this month, generated a $3.8 million win for the casinos, which brought total GGR to $302 million, and the bottomline 13 percent gain.

Rummy Pandit, executive director of Stockton University’s Lloyd D Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism, told the Press of Atlantic City, “That clearly goes to show that it’s not just old revenue. There’s new revenue there as well.”

Concerns Abundant

The June openings of Hard Rock and Ocean Resort brought much excitement to the beachfront town. Resorts were booked solid, with weekend room rates going at premium prices approaching $600 a night.

The welcoming of sports betting was another draw. The first sportsbook opened June 14 at Borgata, and Ocean Resort followed on June 28. Sports wagering operations, including mobile betting, continue to expand.

The GGR increase is a strong start, but gaming industry analysts say more substantial growth is required. Former Bally’s executive Wayne Schaffel said this week that if Atlantic City gaming revenue doesn’t grow “at least 15 percent, somebody’s not going to make it.”

While the two new casinos grew revenue, they also, as expected, poached from the competition. Borgata, Tropicana, Harrah’s, Caesars, Bally’s, Golden Nugget, and Resorts all saw land-based casino win decline in July.

The new casinos have added competition and it has been a good thing for visitors,” Casino Control Commission Chair James Plousis said. “Market adjustments were expected and will continue as each casino works to attract new customers and build their market share.”

Borgata remains the top money winner with GGR totaling $71.1 million, a nearly seven percent loss on July 2017. Tropicana was next at $33.7 million (-10.1 percent), followed by Hard Rock at $32.4 million.

Ocean Resort won the least, with the property bringing in $15.8 million. Owner Bruce Deifik remains confident, saying, “We have one direction that we’re heading, and that’s up!”

Sports Betting Win

In its first full month, New Jersey sportsbooks took in $40.6 million in wagers. Three Atlantic City casinos, Borgata, Ocean Resort, and Bally’s, and two horse racetracks, Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, won $3.83 million on the bets.

Sports betting win, however, should be taken cautiously, as many early bets have been on futures, aka events that haven’t year occurred. Regardless, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher tells the Associated Press the market is off to a strong start, and he’s “thrilled with the early numbers at both Monmouth Park and Ocean.”

“They are clearly exceeding our expectations of where we thought we would be at this early stage,” Asher explained. “There’s no doubt the New Jersey sports betting market has a lot of potential.”