Atlantic City Casinos Warm Up in April, Gross Revenue Climbs 1.3 Percent

Posted on: May 15, 2018, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: May 15, 2018, 10:14h.

Atlantic City casinos posted a negligible 0.3 percent gross gaming revenue (GGR) increase for April on their brick-and-mortar operators. However, when income from online operations are factored in, the industry saw its total win climb 1.3 percent.

Atlantic City casinos Hard Rock
Hard Rock signage is going up in preparation of its June opening, but little will be easy for the new property and current Atlantic City casinos in the months ahead. (Image: Wayne Parry/Associated Press)

The seven remaining casinos posted $214.4 million in gaming win last month, more than $2.7 million better than the same month in 2017. Internet operations surged 10.6 percent to $23 million.

Regardless of the April uptick, Atlantic City casinos remain down through a third of the year. Total gaming win January through last month totals $808.3 million, a 4.1 percent drop, or $34.28 million.

Borgata remains the dominant casino, with the Marina District property posting casino and internet win of $57.7 million. That represents an eight percent year-over-year loss.

Harrah’s was second at $29 million, and Golden Nugget third with $28.3 million.

While online GGR had been relatively equally split across the casinos, the Nugget has taken the lead in 2018. In March, the site launched a roulette game that allows players online to partake in the communal aspect of the game with patrons on the actual brick-and-mortar casino floor.

Golden Nugget’s online casino has won $31.9 million through April. Its next closest competitor is Borgata at $17.1 million.

Sports Betting to Rescue

Atlantic City will welcome any sort of gaming revenue bump, but New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis says yesterday’s report fails in importance to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handing down its opinion on sports betting.

PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that made it illegal in all but four states to bet on sports, was repealed on Monday by the Supreme Court. A majority of justices found the longstanding law to be in violation of interpretations of the Tenth Amendment.

SCOTUS accepted the appeal brought by New Jersey after voters and state officials took steps to allow horse racetracks and Atlantic City casinos to operate sportsbooks. “I anticipate sports wagering will fuel future growth for the casinos and add a new attraction for visitors,” Plousis told the Press of Atlantic City.

The American Gaming Association estimates that $15 billion was bet on the Super Bowl and March Madness this year, with roughly 97 percent wagered illegally.

New Jersey lawmakers have proposed an eight percent gross betting tax on in-person wagers, and 12.5 percent on bets made online or on mobile devices.   

Competition Coming

Atlantic City casinos are winning less money in 2018 than 2017, and that presents grave concerns for the industry, which is expected to expand by two casinos this year.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort are both opening June 28. Some observers believe it’s too soon for the investments, and that the shuttering of five casinos between 2014 and 2016 “right-sized” the market.

Plousis is confident sports betting, along with new attractions from Hard Rock and Ocean Resort, will be enough to grow tourism and gaming in Atlantic City.

“All that together, and it should be a strong summer and a brighter future for New Jersey’s gaming industry,” the casino regulator opined.