Atlantic City Casino Revenue Takes A Slide In May, But Don’t Panic Yet

In sports betting, there is no greater disappointment than a bad beat.

Like taking the 23.5-point spread in a college basketball game, having that team lead by 26, and a player from the losing squad hitting a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer to essentially rip up your ticket.

For Atlantic City casinos, May was a bad beat in terms of revenue. Though it should not be too much cause for concern.

Casinos ‘unusually lucky’ in 2017

According to figures released last week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, overall AC casino revenue in May reflected a 5.1 percent drop from 2017.

Revenue at brick-and-mortar casinos fell more than 7 percent to $193.4 million, a drop-off of nearly $15 million compared with May 2017.

“The May results were mixed,” DGE deputy chief of financial investigations Christopher Glaum told the Press of Atlantic City. “While slot machine win and internet win were up for the month, table game win was down due largely to a lower win percentage. Last May, the industry had an unusually high win percentage, at close to 20 percent, and this year was more normal, at around 16 percent.”

The Boardwalk’s seven casinos combined for $217.7 million last month, which was up from $214.4 million generated in April. To date, they have raked in just over $1 billion, which is 4.3 percent behind the pace at this time last year.

“Somebody was lucky in May, but it wasn’t the casinos,” James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, told the Associated Press. “Casino win was down last month largely because casinos were unusually lucky at the tables last year in May, and players kept more of their money this May.”

Downward trend opposite of online

Decreasing revenues abounded in Atlantic City this past month.

In terms of total gaming win, Borgata sat atop the market with $66 million. That total, however, is down 8 percent year over year.

On the other end of the spectrum is Caesars, which reported $22.2 million for a 24.3 percent slide from last May.

Interestingly, though, that downward trend is not prevalent everywhere.

NJ gambling sites in May enjoyed the second-best month in the industry’s history, as the combined $24.3 million was second only to the $25.6 million posted two months earlier.

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Down month in Atlantic City should not be concerning

Yes, overall revenue is down. But by no means are casinos out. In fact, some experts believe a hike could be in store over the next few months.

There is some fear that the additions of Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock Atlantic City — both of which are targeting June 28 openings — could oversaturate the market. After all, after five NJ casinos closed between 2014 and 2016, AC’s casinos have recorded increased revenues over the past two years.

But in an April interview, former Stockton University professor Anthony Marino said he expects the opposite to occur. Those casinos, he noted, could attract new visitors and lure former guests back to the Boardwalk.

“Both properties have super-sized casino floors and ample space to include celebrity chef restaurants, exciting entertainment venues, conference and business facilities, plus other amenities to attract non-gaming business,” Marino said.

Plousis echoed Marino’s optimism, also citing the legalization of NJ sports betting as a potential revenue boost for casinos with sportsbooks.

“I do anticipate that gaming revenue will increase this summer with the addition of new casinos, sports betting and a wealth of new attractions, amenities, and entertainment,” Plousis said. “With that also comes more tax revenue, more jobs and increased economic activity for the entire region.”

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.