New Jersey gambling revenue up 6.6% in October

The Press Of Atlantic City
New Jersey gambling revenue up 6.6% in October

ATLANTIC CITY — New Jersey’s casinos, racetracks that take sports bets and their online partners won more than $423 million in October, up 6.6% from a year earlier, according to figures released Friday by state gambling regulators.

But the casinos’ key metric — the amount of money won from in-person gamblers — continued to trail pre-pandemic levels at five of the nine casinos, an ongoing concern for the city’s gambling industry.

Only four casinos — Ocean Casino Resort, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Resorts Casino Hotel — won more last month from in-person gamblers than they did in October 2019, before the COVID19 pandemic broke out.

“Despite anecdotal observations suggesting a decline in on-property activity, the numbers for brick-and-mortar activity for 2023 year-to-date are favorable,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling market.

She noted that with $2.4 billion in revenue from in-person gamblers through the first 10 months this year, those numbers are on track to surpass those from all of 2019, and have a chance of surpassing 2022 levels as well.

Atlantic City’s casino revenue through the first 10 months of the year is its best in the last decade, added James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

The casinos must share internet and sports betting money with third parties, including sports books and technology partners; it is not solely for the casinos to keep. That is why the casinos focus most on money from in-person gamblers.

In terms of money won from in-person gamblers last month, Borgata won nearly $57 million, down nearly 9% from a year earlier; Ocean won $43.3 million, up more than 53% from a year ago, and Hard Rock won $41.2 million, up nearly 6%.

The House Ethics Committee is questioning whether U.S. Rep. George Santos used campaign funds to pay for $2,000 in trips to several city casinos last year.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City won $17.8 million, down nearly 12%; Tropicana Atlantic City won $16.4 million, down 5.6%, and Caesars Atlantic City won $14.4 million, down 18%.

Resorts won $13.3 million, up 3%; Bally’s Atlantic City won $12.4 million, up nearly 15%, and Golden Nugget Atlantic City won $12.2 million, up 1.6%.

Ocean attributed its strong October to a particularly good result at table games and continuing increases in slot machine winnings.

“We played pretty lucky at tables,” said Bill Callahan, the casino’s general manager. “We’ve been investing in this business, investing in the building and our customers, and it’s all starting to come together.”

When internet gambling and sports betting money is included, Borgata won more than $100 million, down more than 11%; Golden Nugget won $61.5 million, up more than 22%, and Hard Rock won $51.9 million, up 17.5%.

Ocean won more than $48 million, up 52.6%; Tropicana won $28.1 million, up more than 11%, and Bally’s won $19.7 million, up more than 27%.

Harrah’s won $17.8 million, down more than 12%; Caesars won just under $15 million, down nearly 17%, and Resorts won nearly $13.3 million, up 2.4%.

Resorts Digital, the casino’s online arm, won $61.3 million, up 8.5%, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment NJ won just over $6 million, down more than 34%.

A two-alarm fire that damaged the Atlantic City Boardwalk and the marquee outside Resorts Casino Hotel remained under investigation Thursday.

Overall internet gambling revenue was $167 million, up 13.3% from a year earlier.

The casinos and tracks took in just under $1.3 billion worth of sports bets, falling just short of their record total reached in January 2022 and closely approached several times since then.

Of that total, $92.2 million was kept as revenue after paying off winning bets and other expenses.

The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, near New York City, had the largest share of that revenue at more than $60 million. Monmouth Park in Oceanport, near the Jersey Shore, had $2 million in sports betting revenue, and Freehold Raceway had nearly $1.8 million.