NJ Gambling Revenue Up 6.7% in July, But 5 Atlantic City Casinos Still Lag

NBC10 Philadelphia
NJ Gambling Revenue Up 6.7% in July, But 5 Atlantic City Casinos Still Lag

New Jersey’s casinos, horse tracks that offer sports betting and the online partners of both types of gambling outlets won $480.7 million in July, an increase of 6.7% from a year ago.

But the resorts nine casinos continue to struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels in terms of the amount won from in-person gamblers, with five of them winning less in July 2022 than they did in July 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic began.

Figures released Tuesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show that the casinos collectively won just under $299 million from in-person gamblers. That's more than the $277 million they collectively won in July 2019.

But five casinos — Bally's, Borgata, Golden Nugget, Harrah's and the Tropicana — won less from in-person gamblers last month than they did in July 2019.

Nonetheless, Atlantic City's performance in July “showed indications of a strong summer season fueled by a return to normal operations and consumer behavior,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University.

“Unlike last summer, Atlantic City casinos in 2022 are operating without official public health restrictions, which were still in place at the start of summer 2021,” she said. “There also isn’t the COVID-19 drag of persisting public health concerns that kept some visitors from returning to pre-pandemic behaviors even after an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency in New Jersey.”

James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said the resort is 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.

Because of that reason, they say in-person gambling revenue is a more accurate measure of how well the casinos are doing.

The Borgata won $124 million from in-person gamblers, sports bettors and internet gambling in July, up 16.4% from a year earlier. Hard Rock won $59.8 million, up nearly 8%; Golden Nugget won $49.1 million, virtually flat from a year earlier; and Ocean won $43.3 million, up 29.5% from a year ago.

Tropicana won $35.8 million, down 2.5% from a year ago; Harrah's won $26.3%, down 10%; Caesars won $25.5 million, down 3.2%; Bally's won $20.7 million, up 28.4%, and Resorts won $18.3 million down nearly 3%. (Resorts Digital, the company's online arm, won nearly $39 million, an increase of nearly 15% from a year earlier.)

Among racetracks that offer sports betting, the Meadowlands in East Rutherford won $25.2 million in July, down from $31.7 million a year earlier. Monmouth Park in Oceanport won $1.6 million, down from $2.4 million a year earlier, and Freehold won $675,089, up from $165,792 last year.

All told, gamblers wagered $531.8 million on sports in July, down from $578.7 million a year ago.

New Jersey's sports betting market is facing a new challenge from New York, which began offering mobile sports betting earlier this year and quickly seized the nationwide lead in terms of the amount of sports bets taken.

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