Atlantic City Casinos Unlucky in May, Revenue Plummets 5.1 Percent

Posted on: June 16, 2018, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: June 16, 2018, 08:43h.

Atlantic City casinos reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) losses of 5.1 percent in May, and without online gambling, things would have been even worse.

Atlantic City casino revenue Hard Rock
As Hard Rock signs go up, Atlantic City casino revenue comes down. (Image: Craig Matthews/Press of Atlantic City)

Brick-and-mortar play in Atlantic City plummeted more than seven percent to $193.4 million, a loss of nearly $15 million compared to the same month in 2017. Online operators were once again the bright spot, as the sites generated a $24.3 million gaming win, a 15.3 percent year-over-year jump.

New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis told the Associated Press that gamblers were simply lucky last month.

“Somebody was lucky in May, but it wasn’t the casinos,” Plousis declared. “Casino win was down last month largely because casinos were unusually lucky at the tables last year in May, and players kept more of their money this May.”

Borgata remained the top dog, with total gaming win (land-based and online) totaling $66 million. That’s a more than eight percent drop from May 2017. Caesars was the biggest loser, as the casino company reported $22.2 million GGR, a 24.3 percent fall.

Year to date, Atlantic City casinos are down 4.3 percent. Through five months, the seven resorts are $45.9 million short of where they were at this time a year ago.

Excitement Building

The big unknown is about to be realized: Can Atlantic City support nine casinos?

Five casinos closed between 2014 and 2016, with analysts often referring to it as a “right-sizing” of the market. Following eight years of GGR annual declines, Atlantic City’s remaining seven casinos have posted increases over the last two years.

They’ll soon have more competition. Hard Rock and Ocean Resort are to open later this month after collectively investing around $1 billion into the Boardwalk properties.

Anthony Marino, a former Stockton University professor, believes Hard Rock and Ocean Resort will bring new visitors to Atlantic City, as well as return former guests who no longer have to travel to the New Jersey coastline to find a slot machine.

“Both properties have super-sized casino floors and ample space to include celebrity chef restaurants, exciting entertainment venues, conference and business facilities, plus other amenities to attract non-gaming business,” Marino stated in April.

Hard Rock is fixed on being a music-first property that plans to offer 300 live shows in its first full year. Ocean Resort is bringing Top Golf to Atlantic City, and hopes to become a more inclusive destination with family-oriented attractions.

Prime Rates

Hard Rock invested over $500 million in renovating the former Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Resort spent $300 million updating the former Revel. With hundreds of millions of dollars invested, it should come as little surprise that the resorts are opening with rather elevated nightly room rates.

Ocean Resort wants $400 or more per Saturday night on numerous weekends this summer. Hard Rock often does too, but more Saturdays are available in the $350-$400 range.

Borgata demanded the highest nightly room average in 2017 at $175. Resorts was the cheapest at $71.