New Gambling Outlets Propel Atlantic City To Massive Year-On-Year Gains In August

The launch of two new casinos and sports betting in Atlantic City are having an overwhelmingly positive impact on growth.
Hard Rock Casino AC
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Atlantic City has its two new casino properties and the rapid proliferation of sports betting in New Jersey to thank for a stellar August — a performance so impressive that we’re less hesitant than ever before to utter the phrase “AC is back, baby.”

Topline numbers

In July, we were provided a glimpse of how the newly revitalized Atlantic City would play out, with revenue climbing an impressive 11.94% over the previous July to $299.8 million. Now, we’re even more certain that the recent uptick wasn’t a mere fluke, as Atlantic City revenue for August was up a staggering 22.5% year-over-year, to just under $300 million. Factor in sports betting contributions from FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands and the William Hill-branded book at Monmouth Park, and the state of New Jersey took in $303.9 million in gaming revenue last month, up 24.13% over August 2017.

Land-based casino revenue (excluding sports betting) was up 20.75%, from $223.6 million to $269.9 million. Add in $24.8 million from NJ online gambling (+16.6% Y/Y) and a tasty $5.2 mm from Atlantic City-based sports betting — including $2.97 from DraftKings Sportsbook, licensed under Resorts AC — and there’s your $300 million.

Gamblers love The Rock

No, we’re not talking about wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson, but Hard Rock Casino AC, which opened its doors to the masses in late June and has carved out a nice niche for itself since. Last month, the newly-minted casino generated $30.8 million ($31.3 million with iGaming), which was down just a tad from the $32.4 million it raked in during its first full month of operation.

Hard Rock ranked fourth in terms of land-based revenue, well-behind industry-leading Borgata, and trailing slightly behind Tropicana ($32.2 million) and Harrah’s AC ($31.3 million).

Ocean Resort, on the other hand, spent a second consecutive month at the back of the pack, generating just $19.6 million in land-based revenue, and just inching ahead of Resorts ($18 million) to avoid the gloomy distinction of basement dweller. Well, at least that was better than the casino’s performance in July, when it only took in $15.8 million. But on another dour note, the casino saw its sportsbook revenue effectively halved from $1.04 million to $519k.

New online sites growing

Both Hard Rock and Ocean reported solid gains on the online front, with Hard Rock online revenue surging from $329k in July to $439k in August. Ocean online casino was an even bigger gainer, with online revenue chugging ahead to $385k, up from $249k last month. Of course, Ocean’s gains should be taken with a grain of salt, as the site was only live for about 20 days of July.

Old guard takes a modest hit

Last month, we were somewhat concerned that Hard Rock and Ocean Resort revenue would be mostly cannibalized from AC’s other casino properties, as all seven existing venues suffered year-on-year losses, with four casinos seeing their revenue dip by double-digits. The situation wasn’t nearly as dire in August, with only Bally’s eating a double-digit loss (-10.7%), and most other properties either losing a little or gaining a little.

Full land-based casino revenue for August as follows:

CasinoAug. 2017 Casino WinAug. 2018 Casino WinY/Y Change
Golden Nugget$19,936,454$20,523,2582.94%
Hard RockN/A$30,764,976N/A

All told, revenue for land-based casinos that were around before Hard Rock and Ocean Resort held their fancy opening ceremonies was down a modest $4 million (1.8%) to $219.6 million. That’s virtually nothing compared to the more than $50 million brought in by the boardwalk city’s newcomers, signaling that there indeed may have been room for AC to expand.

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