The addition of two new casinos in Atlantic City last summer means that for the industry to thrive, it needs to “grow the pie” significantly larger in terms of revenue.
In June — the last month of 2019 that will compare a nine-casino market to what was mostly a seven-casino market in 2018 — the industry pulled that off, according to figures released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Collectively, the holdover casinos held steady from June 2018 to June 2019. For the city, region, and state, that’s a win. That’s because new properties Hard Rock and Ocean Casino Resort, which each opened in the final days of June 2018, jumped from a combined $7.4 million in revenue last June to $54.1 million last month.
And on top of that, Hard Rock and Ocean accounted for thousands more jobs, casino hotel room stays, tourists, and quite a lot in taxes added to the rolls.
Upstart claims second place in June
Borgata claimed more than 25% of the total casino revenues, at $70.9 million. Hard Rock — the revamped Trump Taj Mahal property — leaped into second place at $32.6 million, while five other properties earned from $20-$30 million. It’s notable that one of them is Ocean Casino Resort — nee Revel — which climbed to a single-month record $21.5 million in revenue as it continues to reinvent itself.
Resorts, the city’s original casino, which has been enjoying a renaissance of late, slipped 5.1% to a city-low $15.5 million, at least in terms of brick-and-mortar results.
Diversification of gambling options continued to boost bottom lines.
Brick-and-mortar casino revenues for June were $236 million, with another $38.1 million coming from internet casino gaming and $4.1 million more from sports betting.
Huge percentage boosts year-over-year in terms of online casino gaming have become routine, so June’s 67.8% jump was no surprise. The market leader continues to be Golden Nugget, at $13.6 million. That’s a little more than Resorts Digital — which has a partnership with DFS giant DraftKings that includes online casino games — and Borgata took in combined.
In terms of sports betting, Resorts Digital continues to run second to the Meadowlands Racetrack, however. The track’s partnership with FanDuel produced $4.4 million in revenue compared to $2.7 million for Resorts Digital.
For the first half of 2019 in total, the race for second place in revenue behind Borgata ($367 mm) was fierce as Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Hard Rock, Harrah’s, and Caesars all placed between $127 mm and $176 mm.
More stagnant NJ online poker numbers
Online poker remained flat at $1.77 mm in June, up just $12k over a year ago, as the industry waits for neighboring Pennsylvania to come aboard. The addition of the Keystone State to a compact with New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware would boost the market’s liquidity, though even those four states would still leave poker far short of its pre-UIGEA market potential.
There is a school of thought that as states seek to legalize sports betting, online poker and casino games could “piggyback” their way into some legislative bills.
Some sort of jumpstart is needed for online poker, which drew the bulk of the attention in the days before New Jersey launched online casino gaming in November 2013.
A look back four years ago, to June 2015, is telling. In that month, online poker produced $1.8 mm in revenue, roughly the same as it does now, while other online casino games generated $9.8 mm. Last month, the latter nearly quadrupled that figure to $38.1 mm.
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