Atlantic City Casinos Cannot Wait For Summer As Profits Dip 10% To Start 2024

Written By David Danzis on May 22, 2024
Image of a gambler playing at Hard Rock Atlantic City for a story on first quarter profits for Atlantic City casinos in 2024.

The biggest takeaway from the quarterly financial reports released Wednesday by New Jersey gambling regulators is that summer cannot come soon enough for Atlantic City casinos.

Gross operating profits reported by Atlantic City’s nine casinos collectively declined by 9.6% in the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period last year. According to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, Atlantic City casinos generated nearly $140.5 million in GOP to start the year. When lumping in the state’s two online-only licensees, operating profits climbed to $155.4 million, a YoY industry decline of 8.7%

It was the sixth time in the last seven quarterly reporting periods that gross operating profits — a widely accepted measure of industry profitability — declined for brick-and-mortar casinos in AC.

AC casino profits by the numbers

Only two properties — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort — showed quarterly year-over-year increases in GOP. On the other side of the balance sheet, Bally’s Atlantic City and Resorts Casino Hotel posted operating losses in the first quarter of 2024.

Net revenues—which include gambling (less promotional spending), hotel, food and beverage, and other miscellaneous earnings—increased almost 2% YoY to $740.2 million. According to the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, it was the highest net revenue total in recent history.

The average rate for an occupied hotel room increased ($156.53 to $164.20) in Q1 of 2024, as did the total number of occupied rooms (892K to 902K). The hotel occupancy rate declined slightly from 65.2% in Q1 of 2023 to 64.8% this year.

Local expert weighs in on latest industry data

Revenue increases presented next to sagging profits are not unusual in the current economic climate. Rising costs and consumer uncertainty are impacting businesses everywhere, and Atlantic City casinos are not immune to larger market forces.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of LIGHT, noted several factors for the industry’s less-than-satisfactory quarterly results. In a press release Wednesday, she says:

“A variety of market circumstances can explain this dynamic, including an increase in the cost of doing business, inflation, and a potential shift in revenue mix to operations like lodging and food and beverage that traditionally have narrower profit margins.”

Bokunewicz highlighted one positive for the city, which was transportation data suggesting visitor levels are going up. According to the South Jersey Transportation Authority’s count of vehicles passing through the Pleasantville Toll Plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway, vehicle counts for the period January through March 2024 increased 3% over the same period in 2023 and 9.5% compared to the same period in 2022.

Photo by Wayne Parry / AP Photo
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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