Mother Nature played the ultimate trump card last month, slamming New Jersey with four nor’easters that kept people indoors.
Atlantic City casinos not only had to weather the multiple storms like everyone else, but they also felt the sting of the natural fury in a critical way: revenue.
According to the March revenue numbers from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), the state’s land-based casinos saw a 3.6 percent decline as compared to March 2017.
These wins are comprised of table games and slots, not NJ online gambling.
Winners and losers in Atlantic City
Every month that the DGE publishes the reported gambling win, there are winners and losers.
This past month, only one casino reported an increase in revenue as compared to March 2017: Golden Nugget.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City took home $52.7 million in March, a 3 percent increase compared to the casino’s $51.2 million haul in 2017.
Every other casino in the city lost money from its land-based offerings. Here is a list of the reported losses, beginning with the biggest decrease:
Looking at these numbers could lead one to believe that a 3.6 percent casino decline was a considerable loss. But even with the onslaught of big storms, casinos were able to post fewer losses than they did in February.
Atlantic City casinos saw an 8.9 percent year-on-year drop in February, nearly double the downturn they felt in March. Those losses followed the same pattern as March, too.
Golden Nugget was the only property to post year-on-year gains (4.7 percent), and Caesars reported the biggest loss (23 percent).
Resorts was an outlier. The casino suffered a 20.9 percent loss in February but only a 12.3 percent loss in March. The 8.9 percent change represented the biggest improvement from February to March.
Online gambling tempered the losses
The casinos’ fiscal skies could’ve been as grey as the storms that hampered them were it not for significant wins from the online side.
According to the DGE, New Jersey online casinos and poker rooms earned 17.9 percent more than they did in March 2017, a revenue jump that totaled a record $25.6 million. It was the third straight month that NJ gambling sites posted revenue of more than $21 million.
With online gambling revenue, however, Atlantic City casinos boast only a 1.6 percent decline. The seven casinos won $218.4 million overall in March, about 11 percent of which was from online gambling.
So it’s a sure bet that online gambling in New Jersey is a boon for Atlantic City casinos, especially when bad weather strikes.
Summer openings should yield big returns
While Atlantic City casinos should break their weather-induced slump in April, the biggest gains will probably come this summer when the Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino open their doors.
Hard Rock International announced on Wednesday that its property is opening on June 28. Meanwhile, Ocean Resort has yet to reveal their summer opening date.
It’s widely believed that these two casinos will boost, at least temporarily, the city’s revenue as regulars and newcomers flock to the seaside gambling town to celebrate the new brands.
The other scenario is that the new casinos’ magnetism — Hard Rock, in particular — will pull customers away from other properties. The smaller casinos — Resorts, Bally’s, and Golden Nugget — could feel some pretty acute financial pain.