Atlantic City casinos probably let out a collective sigh of relief when the calendar changed to March.
As tough as the last 12 months were for the brick-and-mortar gambling industry, February was one of the bigger disappointments since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Casino win was $148.2 million in February, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. Year-over-year, table game and slot machine revenue generated by the nine Atlantic City casinos was down more than $70 million, or 32.1%, last month.
It was the first monthly reporting period since the industry reopened in July in which not one Atlantic City casino reported a year-over-year increase in table game and slot revenue.
Year-to-date, casino win is down 24.8%, with the nine gambling parlors reporting $308.25 million in the first two months of 2021. However, since Atlantic City casinos were closed for nearly four months in 2020, brick-and-mortar gaming revenue for 2021 will eventually top last year’s results.
|Casino||Table & Other||Poker||Slot Machines||Total Gaming Win|
|Bally's||$2,920,544||$ -||$4,043,561 ||$6,964,105|
|Golden Nugget||$1,857,507||$ -||$6,918,926||$8,776,433|
|Hard Rock||$6,312,266||$ -||$17,262,653||$23,574,919|
|Ocean Casino||$5,753,682||$ -||$13,079,423||$18,833,105|
Online, sports overshadow Atlantic City revenue declines
Once again, online gaming and sports betting came to the rescue in February.
Internet gambling revenue was $93.8 million for the month, an increase of 80.4% from 2020. Sports betting generated $16.4 million, a massive 244% rise from last February.
And that’s just the Atlantic City portion. Once New Jersey racetracks are factored into the equation, the number jumps to $46.2 million for a 172% year-over-year increase. In total, the Garden State took in $743 million in February wagers, but the DGE does not break down the figure by license holders.
Getting back to Atlantic City, online gambling and sports betting accounted for a combined $110.26 million, or 42.6%, of total gaming revenue. In February 2020, the two segments were responsible for 20.6% of the industry’s $275.1 million in total gaming revenue.
“Internet gaming and sports wagering continued to provide dependable sources of revenue for the gaming industry during February,” said N.J. Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis. “Casino win could not compare to the pre-pandemic results of last year, before restrictions on capacity, amenities, and entertainment were implemented.”
February looked promising, failed to deliver
February’s Atlantic City Casino revenue results are a tough pill to swallow for Atlantic City casinos.
Sure, February 2020 was a leap year that added another Saturday. But things started moving in the right direction for Atlantic City casinos at the start of last month.
As COVID-19 vaccinations became more widely available, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy rescinded a 10 p.m. curfew for restaurants and bars while also increasing indoor capacity to 35%. Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day were both successful, despite the business limitations hampering casino operations.
None of it was enough to overcome another month of casino win decline.
March 2021 is a lock to beat March 2020
The good news for Atlantic City casinos is that monthly revenue reports will be looking a lot better going forward.
February 2020 was the last full month the casinos were open before COVID-19 upended the industry. Murphy ordered AC’s casinos closed on March 16. The casinos were permitted to reopen on July 2.
So, it’s a sure bet that March 2021 will produce more favorable revenue numbers for Atlantic City casinos.