In The Battle Of New Atlantic City Casinos, Hard Rock Storms Out To An Early Lead

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Paper may cover rock, but Hard Rock crushes Ocean. Or at least that’s the story so far in Atlantic City, where during the two new casinos first full month of operation, Hard Rock outperformed Ocean Resort Casino by a nearly two-to-one margin.

Topline numbers

It was a breakthrough month for Atlantic City, which thanks in large part to its recent expansion, had its best month since way back in 2010. Casino revenue clocked in at $272,321,372, representing a 10.13% uptick over last year.

Factor in a record breaking month for NJ online gambling, which brought in $25,897,517, and an additional $1,617,384 from AC sports betting, and Atlantic City came up just shy of reaching $300 million for July ($299.8). All told, Atlantic City gaming revenue was up 11.94%, also helped along by a mid-week holiday.

Hard Rock vs. Ocean

Looking at the numbers, there is little doubt which new Atlantic City property is having the better time. In its first full month open to the public, Hard Rock raked in $32,386,465 in casino revenue, good for second place among the city’s nine casinos.

As for Ocean Resort, in a performance reminiscent of its predecessor — the now defunct Revel —  it only generated $15,810,473 in casino win, good for dead last. Toss in sports betting revenue and the picture becomes a bit rosier, as Ocean newly-minted book brought in $1,036,766 in sports wagering revenue, but the combined $16,847,239 in land-based win was still less that what next-to-last Resorts AC (which won’t open a live sportsbook until this week) pulled in, at $17,485,495.

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On the online front

On paper, it looks that Hard Rock’s online gambling venture also got off to the stronger start, procuring $329,650 in revenue vs. $249,805 for Ocean. However, it’s worth noting that Hard Rock Online Casino was in operation for the entire month of July, while Ocean Online Casino only went live about 10 days into the month.

After this consideration, it was Ocean that fared nominally better online, with its performance presumably driven by its industry best (though flawed) $125 no-deposit bonus, and $10,000 first deposit bonus for new players.

That said, both new online casino sites barely made a dent in overall online casino revenue, which clocked in at just over $24 million.

Cannibalization be thy name

On a somewhat down note, it’s pretty clear that at least a portion of new casino revenue came at the expense of old staples of the Boardwalk and the Marina District. Despite July 4 falling on a Wednesday, adding a mid-week holiday to the mix, revenue was down for all seven Atlantic City casinos that were in business this time last year.

Some casinos, like Harrah’s experienced sharp drop-offs, with revenue dipping 14.14% year-over-year. Even industry leading Borgata wasn’t immune to the cannibalization impact, as revenue dipped from $76,340,889 in July 2017 to $71,124,138 last month, a 6.83% loss.

Full comparison as follows:

CasinoJuly 2017 Casino WinJuly 2018 Casino WinY/Y Change
Bally's$22,826,442$20,558,403-9.94%
Borgata$76,340,889$71,124,138-6.83%
Caesars$32,740,178$29,357,728-10.33%
Golden Nugget$20,800,487$20,105,343-3.34%
Harrah's$36,613,337$31,435,241-14.14%
Resorts$20,445,557$17,845,495-12.72%
Tropicana$37,500,252$33,698,086-10.14%
Hard RockN/A$32,386,465N/A
OceanN/A$15,810,473N/A

Good news is, that at least not all of Hard Rock’s and Ocean’s casino revenue was cannibalized, as combined the duo brought in $48,196,938, versus a combined loss of $23,142,708 for the city’s seven other brick & mortar casino venues.

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Robert is a veteran writer and analyst for the gambling industry, with a particular focus on the emergent US online gambling market. An avid poker and gambling enthusiast, Robert offers unique perspectives from both the vantage point of the player and industry professional, and is fit to cover a broad spectrum of topics.

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