Atlantic City is loosening up this year.

That’s according to a jackpot report from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, in which the DGE says that the Atlantic City casino jackpot totals through Aug. 18 surpassed the annual totals reported in 2017, 2016, and 2015: $21.9 million.

The big numbers come with a caveat, though. Jackpots of $50,000 are counted in this year’s total, whereas only jackpots of $75,000 or more were used in the previous three years.

Casinos continue to churn out $100K+ jackpots

During the past eight months, land-based and online jackpots provided 78 jackpots of $100,000 or more. Here is a breakdown of those jackpots:

  • $1 million and up: 1
  • $500,000 and up: 1
  • $250,000 and up: 4
  • $100,000 and up: 72

The biggest win of the year so far came at Harrah’s on July 6. A lucky gambler won $1,672,498.68 playing Wheel of Fortune Pink Diamond.

More than a month earlier, someone won $687,785.53 a playing Gods of Gold on HarrahsCasino.com.

The next two biggest jackpots were a $498,427.86 on Willy Wonka at Bally Park Place and a $400,000 win on Double Top Dollar at Resorts.

As far as $100,000 jackpots or higher go, here is the breakdown of how the Atlantic City casino jackpots were distributed month by month:

  • January: 12
  • February: 5
  • March: 11
  • April: 10
  • May: 13
  • June: 9
  • July: 12
  • August: 6

Is the lower reporting requirement skewing numbers?

The fact that the DGE has lowered the jackpot reporting limit to $50,000 certainly has an effect on how many jackpots casinos report. But is it enough to inflate numbers to the point that, without those numbers, 2018 would be an average year?

According to the official numbers from the DGE, there is around $6.5 million worth of jackpots of between $50,000.99 and $74,999.99 that would not have been reported in the three years prior to 2018.

The Press of Atlantic City reported that the previous three years’ jackpot numbers were as follows:

  • 2017: $20.2 million
  • 2016: $21.96 million
  • 2015: $20.89 million

When you subtract the sub-$75K jackpots from the year-to-date totals, the resulting number is around $14.9 million.

In other words, without the sub-$75K jackpots, casinos are averaging around $2 million a month, which would put the yearly projected total at $24 million.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort are in the mix

At $24 million without the sub-$75K jackpots, Atlantic City would still experience the highest total of jackpot payouts in the past four years.

That number may go even higher before the year’s end considering that Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort only have one jackpot of more than $50K since their opening in June.

If the two casinos start producing more $50K jackpots before the end of the year, it’s possible that the year-end total could eclipse $25 million.

Other notes about Atlantic City casino jackpots

A review of the DGE’s jackpot reports reveals some pretty interesting bits of metadata.

For example, there were three jackpots won on July 10, all of which happened at NJ gambling sites.

On April 18, Golden Nugget surrendered five jackpots and PlaySugarHouse.com gave up one.

The day with the most jackpots so far this year is June 30, upon which eight jackpots laid bare their riches to hopeful gamblers.

J.R. Duren

About

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, J.R. Duren works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.