N.J. casino revenue up 4% in Nov., trails pre-pandemic levels

The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
MyBookie

ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic City’s casinos won nearly 4% more from in-person gamblers in November than they did a year earlier, but most of them continue to trail the levels at which they were performing before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Figures released Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show that the nine casinos collectively took in $214.5 million from in-person gamblers, an increase of 3.7% from November 2021.

But only two won more money last month from these customers than they did in November 2019, a source of continuing concern for the industry.

“Gross gaming revenues earned from slots, table games, and poker have struggled in recent months to meet 2019 revenue levels,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling market.

She noted that year-to-date in-person revenue of $2.57 billion exceeded the same period in 2021 and the same pre-pandemic period ending with November 2019, which was $2.48 billion.

“While an encouraging sign of post-pandemic recovery, this modest performance may not be enough to offset recent increases in operating expenses, which are now well above those of 2019,” she added.

When money from internet gambling and sports betting is included, the casinos, the three horse tracks that accept sports bets, and their online partners won just over $441 million in November, an increase of 0.3% from a year earlier.

The comparison with pre-COVID-19 days is a crucial one for Atlantic City casinos, which view winning money from gamblers on their physical premises as their core business. Although revenues from the internet and sports bets provide additional income, they say that up to 70% of that goes to third parties like tech platforms and sportsbooks.

The Casino Association of New Jersey said Atlantic City’s casinos last month were running 5.6% behind November 2019 levels for in-person gambling. Only two casinos won more from in-person gamblers last month than they did in November 2019: Hard Rock and Ocean.

In terms of money won from in-person gamblers, Borgata won $55 million in November, up nearly 14% from a year earlier but trailing the $59 million it won in November 2019.

Hard Rock won $35.4 million, down nearly 5% from a year earlier but up from the $23.4 million it won in November 2019.

Ocean won $30.9 million, up 8.7% from a year earlier and up from the $19.5 million it won in November 2019.

Harrah’s won $21 million, down 6.4% from a year earlier and down from the $25.5 million it won in November 2019. Tropicana won $19.1 million, up 2.2% from a year earlier but down from the $23.6 million it won in November 2019.

Caesars won just over $19 million, up 16.6% from a year earlier but down from the $28.3 million it won in November 2019. Resorts won $12.5 million, up 3.1% from a year earlier but down from the $13.8 million it won in November 2019.

Golden Nugget won $11.3 million, down 5.3% from a year earlier and down from the $17 million it won in November 2019. And Bally’s won just over $10 million, down 10% from a year ago and down from the $13.4 million it won in November 2019.

In terms of total gambling revenue, including internet and sports betting, the Borgata won nearly $107 million in November, up 19% from a year earlier.

Golden Nugget, powered by strong internet winnings, won $49 million in total revenue in November, up 11.6% from a year earlier; Hard Rock won $41.5 million, down 4.5%; Ocean won $34.7 million, up 12.3%; Tropicana won $26.4 million, down 12.4%; and Harrah’s won $20.5 million, down 9%.

Caesars won $19.1 million, up 11.5% from a year earlier; Bally’s won $15.2 million, up nearly 28%; and Resorts won $12.3 million, up 1.2%.

Among internet-only entities, Resorts Digital won nearly $54 million, up 7.3%, and Caesars Interactive NJ won over $8 million, down 17.3%.

Internet gambling brought in over $146 million in November, up nearly 24% from a year ago.

New Jersey’s casinos and horse tracks and their online partners took more than $1.1 billion in sports bets in November, keeping $80.4 million of that as revenue after paying out winning bets and other expenses.

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