Atlantic City Revenue Jumps in September Largely Due to Internet Gaming

After months of lockdown, Atlantic City’s casinos and sports betting institutions wagered $748 million in September, offsetting losses to a certain extent. So far, in 2020, Jersey casinos and horse racing operators witnessed nearly $3.3. billion in bets. And the amount overshadows what Atlantic City used to witness per year from casinos before sports betting was legalized in the state.

Speaking of revenue, gambling proceeds increased 6.5% compared to the same period last year, which is quite remarkable considering all that has happened in the last eight months, courtesy of COVID-19. In the last month, the gambling industry in NJ witnessed over $323.2 million, even though regulations limit physical occupancy to 25% to prevent virus transmission.

How Demand for iGaming Helped Boost Revenue

Despite the shortchange, the nine casinos in Atlantic City witnessed a 3% YoY increase in gaming revenue, and the growth is attributed entirely to iGaming, demand for which exploded through the roof during the lockdown. A massive 113% gain in iGaming revenue offset losses from land-based casinos and sports betting organizations.

While casinos reported a 9.6% drop in video slot revenue, table games were down 28.7%, while sports betting slid 23.5%. Despite the downtrend, travel restrictions, and physical distancing norms currently in place, NJ’s land-based casinos reported $291.7 million in total revenue in September, which is reason enough to celebrate.

According to James Plousis, the Chairman of the Casino Control Commission, internet gaming recorded double sales for six months in a row compared to the same period last year. The additional boost to the state coffers has helped the authorities provide for NJ’s disabled and elderly residents.

The Challenges Along the Way

The results further boost hopes of a quick recovery following gradual relaxation of travel restrictions on the amenities, capacity, and entertainment that have been the norm so far this year. If you follow the revenue chart, the results have been inconsistent. While Borgata made $64 million this past month, the figures are down 2.8% compared to September 2019.

The Golden Nugget’s revenue is up 16.3% to $37.5 million, while the Ocean Casino Resort recorded $29.5 million, up 22% since last year. However, Tropicana, Harrah’s, Caesars, and Bally’s witnessed faltering revenue, at 10%, 26.6%, 1.8%, and 12.9%, respectively.

According to Ocean Casino CEO Terry Glebocki, the business had quite a few factors working in its favor. The rerun of indoor dining facilities and Labor Day helped create momentum in September. The management could not have hoped for a better start than this, considering the social distancing requirements, travel bans, and limited seating capacity mandated by law.

Sports betting picked up during the final week of September, with the Freehold Raceway accepting bids from September 24. However, progress has been slow as the venue hasn’t begun accepting online bids yet. Thus, recording a total loss of $45,000 compared to the same week last year. However, leading the charts is the Meadowlands Racetrack near New York City, generating over $28.1 million in revenue during September.

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