Atlantic City Casino Revenue Dipped In September. Cyberattacks To Blame?

Written By David Danzis on October 16, 2023 - Last Updated on October 17, 2023
customer buys chips at tropicana, which has helped atlantic city casinos report a successful September in revenue

Atlantic City casino revenue dipped slightly in September, but the results could have been much worse all things considered.

The nine Atlantic City casinos collectively reported $246.5 million in revenue from in-person gamblers last month, a year-over-year decline of 2.1%. Only two properties — Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City — posted better returns in September 2023 than in September 2022.

Did MGM, Caesars hacks affect Atlantic City casino revenue?

It is unknown how much the cyberattacks against MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment played a part in the Atlantic City casino revenue downturn last month. However, the four casinos in AC owned by those two corporations were down a combined 9.1% and accounted for almost $12 million of the year-over-year shortfall.

Statewide gambling trending up

The monthly results coming out of Atlantic City are buoyed by NJ online casinos and NJ sports betting, which has been a recurring theme for the East Coast gambling hub in the post-COVID era. Total gaming revenue — the sum of land-based, online and sports betting — reported by the AC casinos and licensed online entities last month exceeded $430.9 million, an 11.8% increase over September 2022.

Online casinos had their second-best month ever, generating $163.8 million in revenue. Sports betting attracted nearly $1.3 billion in legal bets, the third-highest monthly total ever. Sports betting revenue attributed to AC casinos and their online/mobile partners was more than $71.6 million in revenue, a 62.8% Y-o-Y increase.

CasinoTotal Gaming WinTable GamesPokerSlot Machines
Hard Rock$46,849,632$12,208,092$ -$34,641,540
Ocean Casino$39,527,025$13,629,707$ -$25,897,318
Caesars$21,397,334$6,420,878$ -$14,976,456
Resorts$14,937,723$1,774,954$ -$13,162,769
Bally's$13,140,212$2,285,484$ -$10,854,728
Golden Nugget$12,673,232$2,225,569$ -$10,447,663

No denying impact of online casino, sports betting on AC casinos

NJ Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis acknowledged the external challenges facing the AC casinos last month, while also highlighting the contributions of online gambling and sports betting.

In a statement, Plousis said:

“Atlantic City’s casino win for the month of September was negatively impacted by a widely reported cyber-attack, but it was still the third highest September result since 2012. Year-to-date casino win achieved its best result in ten years. Atlantic City’s total gaming revenue increased nearly 12%, aided by strong internet gaming and sports wagering — internet gaming win recorded its second-best month since inception and sports wagering revenue set a new monthly record.”

Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, says iGaming and sports betting “have extended the reach of Atlantic City’s gaming operators” and that both segments are “mostly immune from seasonality and poor weather — both of which have been known to impact the brick-and-mortar gaming business.”

Bokunewicz explained:

“Operators statewide are finding success in offering their patrons the gaming products they seem to be looking for…While brick-and-mortar revenues were down slightly for the month, they exceeded September year-to-date 2022 and pre-pandemic 2019, indicating the full integrated casino experience is still a popular choice among gamblers.”

AC casino revenue breakdown by property

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, an MGM Resorts property, remains the Atlantic City market leader. However, the digital breach impacted the company’s casinos across the country, including in NJ. The Marina District casino reported $53.4 million from in-person gamblers, a 12.9% decline from September 2022. For the year, Borgata has reported $562 million from in-person gamblers, putting it roughly 3% ahead of last year’s pace.

Hard Rock generated $46.9 million last month, a solid 7.3% Y-o-Y increase. Through the first three-quarters of the year, Hard Rock netted $384.9 million, putting the casino slightly ahead (+1.3%) of its 2022 pace.

Ocean has been the market’s biggest mover in 2023. It was the AC market’s liferaft last month. The Boardwalk casino generated $39.5 million in revenue last month, a 29.2% increase from September 2022. Year-to-date, Ocean’s $307 million is up 14.5% compared to 2022.

The three AC casinos operated by Caesars Entertainment each generated more than $21 million in monthly in-person gambling revenue. Caesars AC posted $21.4 million in revenue, down 4.5% from June 2022. Harrah’s Resort AC reported $22.2 million, a 4.3% Y-o-Y decrease. Meanwhile, Tropicana AC dipped more than 8% in September compared to a year prior, with revenue of $21.5 million.

Bally’s Atlantic City took a step backward in September, posting the market’s largest percentage decline. Bally’s reported $13.1 million in revenue, a decline of 17.3% year-over-year. Through September, Bally’s AC is down 2.4% compared to last year after being ahead for most of 2023.

The city’s first casino, Resorts Casino Hotel, is having an off year. The Boardwalk casino netted just below $15 million last month, a decline of 10.7% from 2022. For the year, Resorts’ in-person gaming revenue is down 4%.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City, the city’s smallest casino hotel, generated just under $12.7 million last month, a 6.1% decline from a year earlier. The Nugget is down 2.4% year-to-date, reporting just under $112 million in annual revenue.

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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