New Jersey sees gaming revenue up nearly 7% in July, but in-person casino win still struggling to match pre-pandemic numbers
As reported by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s casinos, horse tracks offering betting and the online partners of both types of gambling outlets made a combined $480.7 million in July, an increase of 6.7% compared to the same period in 2021. However, Atlantic City's nine casinos continue to struggle to reach their pre-pandemic figures, with five of them still lagging behind.
Casinos collectively won just under $299 million from in-person gambling last month, more than the $277 they collectively won in pre-pandemic July 2019. But five properties, including Bally’s, Borgata, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s and the Tropicana, saw less from in-person customers than in the same period three years ago.
However, Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, said July has shown “indications of a strong summer season fueled by a return to normal operations and consumer behavior," according to AP News.
Bokunewicz compared Atlantic City’s performance in July 2022 to the previous year, and pointed out the fact that the venues are now operating without official public health restrictions, which were still in place at the start of summer 2021. Additionally, Covid-related public health concerns that kept some people from visiting the popular destination have now toned down for the most part.
James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said the resorts are off to a good start to the crucial summer season. “Casino win reached its highest level for the month of July in a decade, reflecting the strength of Atlantic City as a gaming and leisure destination," he said. "Year-to-date, every casino hotel has surpassed its casino win, internet gaming win, and total gaming revenue compared to the same period last year.”
While internet gambling and sports betting add to the revenue totals reported by the state for each casino, gambling executives say those figures are “misleading” because substantial portions of such revenue are kept by third-party providers such as tech platforms. That is why in-person gambling revenue is considered to be a more accurate measure of the casinos’ true performance, an area in which some venues are still coming short when against pre-pandemic numbers.
The Borgata led the market and saw $124 million from in-person gamblers, sports bettors and internet gambling last month, up 16.4% from a year earlier. Hard Rock made $59.8 million, up nearly 8%. Golden Nugget won $49.1 million, virtually flat from a year ago; and Ocean saw $43.3 million, up 29.5%.
Meanwhile, Tropicana won $35.8 million, down 2.5% from July 2021. Harrah’s made $26.3, down 10%, while Caesars made $25.5 million, dropping 3.2% from last year’s figures. Bally’s won $20.7 million, up 28.4%; and Resorts won $18.3 million, down nearly 3%.
Among racetracks that offer sports betting, the Meadowlands in East Rutherford won $25.2 million in July, down from $31.7 million in 2021. Monmouth Park in Oceanport placed second and won $1.6 million, down from $2.4 million a year earlier; and Freehold won $675,089 up from $165,792 in 2021.
Gamblers wagered $531.8 million on sports in July, down from $578.7 million a year ago. The state’s sports betting market is facing a new challenge from New York, which began offering mobile sports betting earlier this year, and seized the nationwide lead in terms of handle.
Sports Wagering Gross Revenue reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners was $45 million for July 2022, reflecting an 18.1% decrease when compared to $55 million in the prior period. Sports wagering gross revenue reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners is $353.2 million for the year-to-date, reflecting a 16.6% decline when compared to $423.3 million for the prior period.
During July, Atlantic City's casinos were under threat of strike as Local 54 of the Unite Here unionsought to update the workers' agreements with the properties to cope with inflation. All strikes were averted, with new four-year contracts with all nine venues now in place after they were ratified near the end of the month.