Online gambling once again helped the seven remaining Atlantic City casinos post a positive monthly gain. The internet sites generated $20.6 million in revenue last month, a more than 23 percent increase compared to 2016.
The strong month takes year-to-date internet gaming win across the $200 million threshold to $204.2 million, the first time New Jersey’s online industry has hit the milestone. With two months to spare, revenues from internet gambling are more than $7.5 million ahead of 2016’s total.
Without online gambling, Atlantic City’s land-based casinos were flat in October. Gaming win totaled $185.8 million, a 0.3 percent decline. Excluding 2016 revenues from the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal, the industry posted an overall gain of 2.1 percent.
The Borgata once again led the way in earnings, the Marina District casino pulling in $55.2 million. However, that’s a nearly nine percent loss compared to 2016 when the resort floor won $60.5 million. Borgata credited the drop to an unusually lucky month for gamblers.
Borgata was the only casino to see a decline in land-based gaming win. The biggest percentage winner was Caesars, which saw revenues climb 9.5 percent to $25.7 million.
When Hard Rock Atlantic City opens next summer, the gambling capital of the East Coast will return to an eight-casino town. Gaming analysts have opined that the closure of five casinos between 2014 and last fall “right-sized” the market.
Atlantic City gaming win plummeted from its record $5.2 billion high in 2006, to $2.5 billion in 2015. Last year’s $2.6 billion marked the city’s first annual gain in more than a decade.
Earlier this year, Golden Nugget General Manager Tom Pohlman credited the reduction in gaming options for the stabilization and recovery.
“The Atlantic City market has right-sized itself to the point where we’re not over-saturated anymore,” Pohlman stated. “I’d like to think things had hit rock bottom and we’ll get better from here.”
Adding 2,400 slot machines and 130 table games, Hard Rock Atlantic City will pressure the tourism industry and require more monthly visitors to the Boardwalk in order to continue the gaming rebound.
New Atlantic City
Hard Rock won’t be the only new face in town in 2018, as Mayor Don Guardian (R) was ousted by challenger Frank Gilliam (D) during this month’s elections. The mayor-elect is a current city councilman who is seeking to protect Atlantic City’s monopoly on gambling in New Jersey.
Casino Control Commission Chairman Matthew Levinson is also out after Governor Chris Christie (R) replaced him with James Plousis. And in Trenton, the next governor is Phil Murphy, a Democrat who favors bringing casinos to north parts of the state in order to create jobs and keep gaming dollars in New Jersey amid expanded gambling in New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.