Atlantic City Casinos to Fight Multiple Adversaries in 2021
Despite facing a total lockdown between March and July 2020, brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City managed to brave the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The operators continue to function at 25% capacity following the instructions of the public health and safety department.
This had a massive impact on gaming revenue, which fell by over 80% compared to the same duration in 2019. While online gambling and sports betting turned out to be a massive hit during the pandemic, it was insufficient to cushion the fall. Moreover, those cash sources now run the risk of dwindling in 2021, and the reason isn’t COVID-19.
“After a sluggish start, physical casinos in Pennsylvania are gearing up to challenge New Jersey’s lead in the iGaming market. And if not by the end of this year, then certainly by 2022”, revealed industry analyst Anthony Marino.
With Live! Casino all set to launch, Atlantic City is adding a sixth competitor to the list, and all six venues are paired with major online gambling companies. Revenue from internet gambling played a tremendous role in 2020 as gamblers were forced to play remotely from March till June due to the pandemic.
Threat from Additional Competition
According to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, in New Jersey alone, the revenue collected from online gambling more than doubled in 2020 compared to the same period last year. “Major brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, UniBet, Caesars, BetRivers, and Bet365 are available in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While more names will likely be added to this list soon”, Marino added.
“This development is projected to decrease New Jersey handles and accelerate growth in Pennsylvanian sports betting revenue”, Marino explained. This development comes right at the heels of New York officials attempting to get mobile sports wagering off the ground. However, there was significant debate over how to implement the new laws.
Experts believe over 20% of wagers posted in New Jersey come from across the border as a significant number of New Yorkers cross over to the Garden State for gambling. If New York finally legalizes online casinos and sportsbooks, business and New Jersey could witness a temporary decline.
A Silver Lining?
According to the figures released by the DGE, New Jersey casinos and horse tracks handled over $1 billion worth of wagers in December alone. The figures, however, are 17% lower than the same period last year. “if the casinos were given free will, they would operate at 100% capacity. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen”, Marino added.
However, according to widespread consensus, people are hoping to return to normal life starting July 2021 as efforts to combat COVID-19 are in full swing. With the vaccination drive in fifth gear, the situation should go back to normal “soon.”
“if everything works according to plan, Atlantic City would receive a steady surge in visitors by the middle of the year. Punters are getting impatient, and this pent-up frustration will help boost the industry. The summer will also bring back second-home owners to the state”, Marino explained.