Atlantic City casino gambling revenue has not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels, but online gaming and sports betting continue to be a buffer.
The nine Atlantic City casinos reported $184.87 million in revenue from table games and slots in March 2021, according to data released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Comparing 2021 totals to last year is unproductive, at best. The casinos were ordered to close on March 16, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A more apt comparison would be to March 2019 when brick-and-mortar gambling revenue (casino win) was $223.2 million.
Since reopening in July, Atlantic City casinos are operating with reduced occupancy and business restrictions due to COVID-19.
“Casino win was lower (last month) than March 2019 due in part to ongoing capacity restrictions, which are helping provide a safe environment for in-person gaming,” said James Plousis, chairman of the NJ Casino Control Commission.
Atlantic City casino revenue through the first three months of 2021 ($493.1 million) is down 17.4% from the same period in 2019 ($597.1 million).
Gross Atlantic City casino revenue showed growth
Total gaming revenue reported by AC casinos — which includes casino win, online gaming and sports betting — was nearly $335 million last month. Combined with sports gambling revenue from three state-licensed racetracks, NJ’s total gaming revenue was $359.3 million in March.
Both monthly totals are higher than March 2019, up 15.8% and 18.2%, respectively.
Online gaming and sports betting were responsible for 43% of March’s total. In March 2019, the two accounted for just under 19% of the monthly total.
“The March report, compared with previous years, shows the importance to the industry’s future of balancing brick and mortar operations with online options,” said Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of the Lloyd D. Leveson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University.
Online gambling revenue breaks monthly record
A record-setting month in online gambling revenue helped boost March’s overall numbers. Online gaming accounted for $113.7 million in March, besting the previous monthly high of $103.7 million set in January.
Borgata and its online partners even managed to knock off the market’s usual top dog, Golden Nugget. Borgata posted $36.2 million from online gambling while Golden Nugget reported $31.8 million.
Resorts Digital generated almost $12.5 million in March.
Here’s a look at how the remaining online operators performed:
- Caesars Interactive: $9.75 million
- Tropicana: $7.25 million
- Hard Rock: $6
- Ocean: $1.26
Top 5 month for sports betting, too
Sports gambling also produced solid results in March. The monthly handle of $859.6 million was the fourth-highest total since sports betting was legalized in 2018.
Statewide, sports gambling revenue was $60.76 million in March. Atlantic City casinos and their online partners accounted for $26.45 million of NJ’s total. The Meadowlands Racetrack and online partners generated $31.28 million in March.
NJ sports bettors have wagered more than $2.56 billion in 2021. Nearly 92% of the total amount wagered in NJ is done via online or mobile apps, according to the NJDGE data.