The Atlantic City casino industry appears as healthy as ever.

In fact, Atlantic City casino revenues for the first half of 2018 are almost exactly what they were last year, according to quarterly financial reports released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement this week.

Revenue held steady for the most part, decreasing just 0.3 percent from $1.306 billion to $1.302 billion from the beginning of January through to the end of June. However, the casinos’ gross operating profit dropped 4.6 percent from approximately $308 million to $294 million.

Part of the reason for the profit drop could be fewer people visiting Atlantic City this year. The reports also revealed the occupancy rate in the industry’s casino hotels reached 81.4 percent. This is a 4.4 percent drop compared to the first six months of 2017.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on top

Despite a 4.6 percent drop in net revenue and 23.7 percent drop in gross operating profit, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continued to be Atlantic City’s top-performing casino property.

Borgata posted more than $400 million in revenue in the first half of the year, close to one-third of the industry’s total. The property also recorded more than $98 million in gross operating profit. However, that number is down significantly from the more than $128 million Borgata recorded over the first six months of 2017.

Regardless, it was another Marina District casino property that posted the industry’s biggest gains.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City saw its revenues jump 9.6 percent. The numbers climbed from close to $130 million in 2017 to more than $142 million this year. Plus, the property posted more than $24 million in gross operating profit. That figure represents a 42.8 percent jump over the profit Golden Nugget posted in the first half of 2017.

Of course, the data shows Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock Atlantic City to be the industry’s lowest grossing casinos, since both properties did not open until June 28.

Resorts Casino Hotel trailing the pack

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Atlantic City casinos.

Resorts Casino Hotel was actually the lowest grossing casino open for the entire six month period. In fact, Resorts was the only casino to post under $100 million in revenue.

It reported $83,463 in net revenue and $10.7 million in gross operating profit for the first half of the year.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City still trails Borgata by quite a significant margin. However, it saw a 3.1 percent jump in revenue. Plus, a 19.5 percent rise in profit. Those numbers helped it keep second place in both categories.

Harrah’s posted $206 million in revenue and $59.9 million in profit in the first six months of the year.

Caesars Entertainment’s other two Atlantic City casinos both saw revenues drop in the first half of the year.

Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino saw net revenue drop 10.6 percent, from more than $159 million in the first six months of 2017 to $142.4 million this year. Net revenue at Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino dropped 2.5 percent, from $109.1 million in the first half of 2017 to $106.3 million in the first half of this year.

However, while Caesars’ gross operating profit dropped 19.3 percent to $37.2 million, Bally’s was up 12.7 percent to $17.9 million.

Finally, Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City saw revenues rise 1.6 percent to $180.4 million and operating profits jump 21.3 percent to $42.7 million in the first half of 2018.

Matching 2017 numbers

All told, the numbers show Atlantic City Casinos are coming close to matching 2017’s pace for both net revenue and gross operating profit.

Hope for increases over 2017 lie in the spread of legal NJ sports betting in the second half of the year. Six of nine Atlantic City casinos have opened sportsbooks since June:

  • Golden Nugget
  • Borgata
  • Resorts
  • Bally’s
  • Harrah’s
  • Ocean Resort

In 2017, Atlantic City casinos saw a 22.5 percent jump in gross operating profits and a five percent increase in net revenue over 2016. Total 2017 net revenue hit $2.67 billion and total 2017 gross operating profits reached $723 million.

All of the numbers include NJ online gambling figures, so when sports betting is at its full strength in the Garden State, the estimates for the AC casino industry are likely to change once again.

Martin Derbyshire

About

In his over 10 years covering the US online poker, legal NJ online gambling, and land-based casino industries, Martin Derbyshire has worn the hats of award-winning journalist and video and film producer. He has logged countless miles reporting on the world of high stakes gambling.