The gross operating profit for Atlantic City casinos clearly was going to be well up in 2021 compared to a pandemic-ruined 2020.
But financial figures released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement demonstrated just how dramatic the improvement was.
Gross operating profits of just $117.5 million in 2020 were followed by $766.8 million in profits in 2021 — with even better numbers expected this year barring any pandemic-related revival in 2022. Perhaps even more impressive is that profits were $613.1 million in COVID-free 2019, meaning the industry’s bottom-line efficiency last year topped that pre-pandemic figure, despite less overall revenue.
Net revenue for the industry was $3.2 billion in 2019, $1.9 billion in 2020, and $3 billion in 2021.
Leader of the pack once more
The leader in 2021 is familiar to anyone who follows the Atlantic City casino industry closely.
After an unlikely dip in profits in 2020, due in part to conceding most of that July to its rivals as the pandemic eased, Borgata in 2021 landed well ahead of the field at $174.1 million in profits. It was followed last year by Tropicana at $118.7 million.
Four-year-old Hard Rock took third place at $106.8 million, nosing out Harrah’s at $99.5 million and 2020 profits leader Ocean casino at $91.2 million.
Bringing up the rear was Bally’s with a net loss of $13.2 million. This year, it hopes upgrades totaling more than $100 million to hotel rooms, the lobby, and the gaming floor will bring it out of the basement in 2022.
Hotel stay figures released
Hard Rock paced the field with 597,331 rooms occupied in 2021, edging out the larger Harrah’s (569,140) and Borgata (536,378) thanks to an 83% occupancy rate that was topped only by fellow four-year-old casino Ocean’s 89% rate.
That rate for Ocean is notable because the Boardwalk property charged an industry-high average of $239.40 per room night. Borgata was a distant second on that front at $184.24.
Looking for an inexpensive room that leaves more money to risk at the slot machines and gaming tables? Resorts was the best bet in 2021 with room charges averaging just $116.31 — or $40 cheaper than any Atlantic City rival.