Hard Rock Cements Runner-Up Status In Atlantic City

Four-year-old casino once again trounced all but market leader Borgata in May
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We’re not even halfway through 2022 yet, but the top two slots among the nine Atlantic City casinos already appear to be locked up.

Borgata, which opened in the Marina District 2003, posted brick-and-mortar revenue of $63.4 million in May, according to figures released Thursday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. That number is almost triple what any other casino reported except for runner-up Hard Rock, which produced $41.5 million in revenue to remain “King of the Boardwalk.”

Ocean Casino, which like Hard Rock opened in mid-2018, was a distant third at $25.4 million. The year-to-date figures follow the same pattern, with $281.2 million for Borgata, $193.5 million for Hard Rock, and $130.9 million for Ocean.

Reviewing the rest of the AC market

In May, Tropicana claimed fourth place (barely) in retail revenue at $21.6 million, followed by Harrah’s ($21.2 million) and Caesars ($20.3 million). Resorts, the oldest property in the city, grabbed seventh place at $14.1 million, ahead of Golden Nugget ($12.8 million) and Bally’s ($12.7 million).

For the year so far, Harrah’s — at $101.6 million — has nosed out Tropicana ($95.3 million) and Caesars ($93.7 million) for fourth place. The lower tier consists of Resorts ($63.6 million), Golden Nugget ($61.1 million), and Bally’s ($60.1 million).

None of this will come as a surprise for those who followed the 2021 numbers, as Borgata was an easy winner last year, with Hard Rock comfortably in second and Ocean not challenged for third place. As with this year, Harrah’s and Tropicana were neck-and-neck for fourth in 2021, while Caesars was a competitive sixth. Resorts, Golden Nugget, and Bally’s are also reprising their pecking order status from 2021.

While COVID-ravaged 2020 potentially could have jumbled the picture, it did not. The nine casinos ranked in the exact same order, and they so far are headed for a third straight year of the same.

Sportsbooks slip, but not online casino

While Atlantic City’s casinos make up a seasonal business that peaks in the summer, their online casino partners enjoy the same strong numbers year round — to a remarkable extent. The $136 million in online casino revenue in May followed $136.9 million in April, $147 million in March, $130 million in February, and $137.8 million in January.

New Jersey’s sportsbooks have peaks and valleys, both in terms of revenue and handle. For instance, revenue was up in May to $61.6 million after the books kept $50.3 million in April. That’s even though handle — the amount wagered — was higher in April ($926.9 million) than in May ($766.4 million).

Sports betting handle cleared the $1 billion mark in each of the last four months of 2021 and again in the “Madness” of March, but that milestone likely won’t return until September and the full resumption of NFL and NCAA football.

The good news for the books is that their hold on bettors’ money last month went up. The 8% advantage for the books last month was well ahead of the 4.7% the books collected in the first four months of the year.

Bettors on Major League Baseball and on multi-leg parlays in all sports seem to have provided most of the additional dollars for the sportsbooks. FanDuel, along with PointsBet and the SuperBook, took in more than half of that revenue — $35.5 million.

Photo: Shutterstock

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