Atlantic City casinos ended the past year just the way casino gambling regulators and executives hoped it would–with another bang-up month. So it came as no surprise that the Atlantic City casino industry continued its momentum and got off to another great start in 2020.
As reported in a 2/12/20 article on pressofatlanticcity.com, according to figures released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in mid-February, total gaming revenue reported by the nine Atlantic City casinos for the month of January 2020 exceeded $270.5 million. This represented nearly a $50 million increase or 22.6 percent more than in January 2019.
Across the board increases in revenue from slots, table games, internet wagering, and sports wagering
Moreover, the stellar performance during the first month of 2020 was not confined to a particular area of gambling. As Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis pointed out, “revenue from slots, table games, internet wagering, and sports wagering all grew.” Despite January traditionally being an offseason for the Atlantic City gambling industry, demonstrable growth in all areas still occurred. Internet and sports wagering produced particularly impressive figures.
Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and senior vice president of Eastern regional operations for Tropicana Atlantic City’s parent company, Eldorado Resorts, echoed these sentiments.”
“The city continues to see increased sports betting and tourism, two important economic drivers,” Callender said. “I look forward to a year of continued progress in 2020.”
January 2020 Atlantic City slots and table games revenue
Industry-wide, revenue from slot machines and table games increased 8.3 percent over January 2019. Interestingly, the two newest Atlantic City casino properties, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort, both fared especially well in these categories. They were a big factor in contributing to this increase. Hard Rock and Ocean placed third and sixth, respectively, in the market, in terms of slots and table games revenue. Both properties reported more than a 36 percent increase in revenue in these categories for January 2020 when compared to the same period last year.
According to Terry Glebocki, CEO of Ocean Casino Resort, January was the casino’s seventh consecutive month of double-digit growth. Glebocki stated that the casino is especially pleased with the revenue from slots, up 87 percent compared to January 2019.
Ocean Casino does not intend to rest on its laurels though. Encouraged by the recent findings, it plans more investments in property enhancements. A new high limit slot parlor, Asian gaming salon, and VIP lounge are all in the works.
January 2020 online gambling
January 2020 also shaped up as a great month for online casino gambling. Moreover, the latest figures suggest that total online gaming revenue for the current year could easily top the figures for last year, which was also record-setting.
Over the course of 2019, online gaming revenue had eight record-breaking months. In fact, total online gaming revenue for the year reached $482.7 million, which was an annual record and a 61.6 percent increase over 2018.
However, that record has an excellent chance of being shattered, too. Online gambling revenue for January 2020 exceeded that for January 2019 by more than $21 million (representing a 64 percent increase). In addition, January 2020 was the first month ever where internet gaming revenue surpassed $55 million.
According to Eric Ramsey, a gaming analyst for PlayNJ.com, if this notable upward trajectory for online gaming continues, revenue of $700 million is “within reach in 2020, which would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.”
The biggest revenue increase of all for Atlantic City casinos and their online mobile partners evidenced for January 2020 compared to January 2019 was in the area of sports betting. Revenue in this category statewide amounted to a reported $23.4 million, representing an astounding jump of 139.9 percent.
Meadowlands Racetrack and its online/mobile affiliates, FanDuel and PointsBet, led the way with a reported $26.4 million in sports betting revenue. All together, NJ gamblers placed more than $540 million in legal sports wagers just in January 2020. Players frequented the sportsbooks in droves to bet the NFL playoffs, college football national championship, and college and pro basketball.
Trickle over to other activities in Atlantic City
Furthermore, according to Casino Control Commission Chairman Plousis, Atlantic City patrons who placed wagers on football, basketball, or other sports didn’t limit the time and money they spent in the area to that one activity. They “took the opportunity to explore Atlantic City’s abundant gaming and non-gaming options.”
Casino executives noted that many sports bettors stayed in town longer, not only to gamble but to partake of Atlantic City’s diverse dining and entertainment offerings. “Making investments that lead to positive customer experiences can provide strong competitive advantages for Atlantic City,” Plousis pointed out.
Could New Jersey unseat Nevada this year as the top sports betting market in the US?
Several experts believe so. In January, New Jersey had already pulled ahead of Nevada, which has never posted January sports betting figures of $500 million in its long reign as the sports betting capital of the US.
According to Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, “New Jersey could very well top Nevada, not just in January, but for the foreseeable future. And assuming that happens, we could be seeing the beginning of New Jersey’s more permanent place as the top market in the country.”
The bottom line: Atlantic City is on the rebound. The future of the Atlantic City casino and sports betting industry looks very bright
Summing up what the latest gaming revenue figures indicate, this is what Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, had to say:
“January saw promising increases in gaming revenue over last year and continues to build on the positive trends within brick-and-mortar and the online arena.
Sports betting and augmented non-gaming activities in the city continue to reinforce the destination’s appeal for the discriminating clientele looking for an experience-based getaway.”
What a difference a few years make! Within the two-year period of 2014-2016, five Atlantic City casino gambling properties closed. But in June 2018 two of those shuttered casino hotels were replaced by two new ones, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort. That same month, legalized NJ sports betting was launched. Since then, not only has Atlantic City gaming revenue been climbing steadily upward, but exciting new dining and entertainment options are seeing this town become more and more a year-round travel destination. Atlantic City has not looked back.