Atlantic City casino revenue fell short of pre-pandemic performance in June even with most of New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions lifted. However, massive gains from sports betting and online gaming propelled the gaming industry to record-setting levels last month, according to data from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Total gaming revenue — sum of land-based casino win, online gambling, and sports betting — reported by AC’s nine casinos was nearly $345.7 million in June, a 24.3% increase from two years earlier. The previous monthly high of $340.5 million came in July 2011.
But, the “pent-up demand” for in-person gambling seen elsewhere in the US is lagging in Atlantic City.
Land-based gambling revenue was down more than $21 million (-9.1%) in June 2021 from two years ago. The amount of money gambled in the casinos declined by more than $206 million (-9.3%).
|Casino||Table & Other||Poker||Slot Machines||Total Gaming Win|
|Bally's||$3,751,585||$ -||$7,511,406 ||$11,262,991|
|Golden Nugget||$1,866,233||$ -||$10,314,075||$12,180,308|
|Hard Rock||$8,397,777||$ -||$26,800,955||$35,198,732|
|Ocean Casino||$4,349,321||$ -||$18,582,965||$22,932,286|
June was good to Hard Rock, Ocean
Atlantic City casino revenue from table games and slot machines was $214.5 million last month, according to the NJDGE.
Only two Atlantic City casinos reported higher gaming revenue from table games and slot machines in June 2021 compared to the same month in 2019.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City reported $35.2 million in brick-and-mortar gambling revenue, an increase of 16.74%.
“We are pleased to show market-leading growth at a time when the pandemic continues to impact the Atlantic City market,” said Hard Rock AC President Joe Lupo.
Ocean Casino Resort posted $23 million, up 13.76% from June 2019.
Terry Glebocki, CEO of Ocean, said she was “very encouraged,” by the property’s business volumes last month.
“The elimination of Covid restrictions and the return to normalcy bode well for us as we introduced our reimagined casino floor enhancements at the end of June,” Glebocki said.
Atlantic City casino revenue down for everyone else
The other seven Atlantic City casino properties saw in-person gambling revenues decline anywhere from 10.9% to 29.9% from two years ago.
Coin-in (-10.9%), slot win (-8.4%), table games drop (-1.4%), and table games win (-11%) fell industrywide compared to June 2019.
Without Hard Rock and Ocean, coin-in (the amount gambled in slot machines) was down more than $313 million (-21%) for the other seven casinos and slot win dropped 19%.
For context, June 2019 had five Saturdays compared to just four last month.
Year-to-date, Atlantic City casino revenue from slots and table games is $1.11 billion. That figure is down 12.1% from the $1.26 billion revenue through the first six months of 2019.
Online, sports skewing Atlantic City casino revenue
Online gambling revenue in June was $107 million, an increase of more than 26% from last year and 181.3% from 2019. Brick-and-mortar casinos did not operate in June 2020 because of the pandemic.
June was the fifth month in 2021 where online gambling revenue eclipsed the $100-million mark.
Atlantic City casino revenue from sports gambling was $24.1 million last month. Last month’s sports betting revenue from AC casinos was 301% higher than 2020 and 491.3% more than 2019.
When including the state’s three licensed racetracks, June 2021 sports betting revenue jumps to $71.3 million.
Atlantic City gambling market ‘is changing’
Despite the less-than-stellar monthly report for land-based gambling revenue, some industry experts are looking at Atlantic City casino revenue optimisticly.
Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, said, “It is important to realize that the gaming market is changing.”
“Revenue share across different gaming products (slots, table games, internet, sports) has substantially changed, and not just in the past year,” she said. “Brick-and-mortar casino gaming revenue may no longer be as strong an indicator of a property’s performance as it once was.”
Bokunewicz acknowledged iGaming and sports betting revenues do not entirely land on the bottom line for AC casino operators. The bulk of those two revenue streams goes to third-party operators. However, “they are an important part of the properties’ product offerings and overall business plan,” she said.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Wayne Parry