Atlantic City Casinos Had A Great April, As Did NJ Online Casinos

Updated on May 25, 2021
april casino revenue atlantic city

As many more people return to Atlantic City and the nine Atlantic City casinos continue to rebound, one would think that NJ online casino gambling revenue would decrease substantially. But that is not the case.

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According to the figures released by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) on Fri., May 14, NJ online casino gambling in April generated nearly $108 million. This represents nearly a 35 percent increase from April 2020, the first full month that all of the Atlantic City casinos were closed and online gambling was the only legal option.

Slight drop in NJ online casino revenue from March to April, but no cause for concern

During the 3 ½ months that the Atlantic City casinos were closed due to the pandemic, what primarily saved the day for them was NJ online casino revenue. Now, with in-person gambling gradually returning to its normal level, getting a sizable added contribution from online and mobile gambling revenue is still important. But it is not as vital as it was when in-person casino play was nonexistent.

Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, pointed out that NJ online casino gambling revenue for April 2021 had dropped slightly from the previous month. Meanwhile, the opposite happened with the revenue from in-person gambling.

Bokunewicz suggested that “this could be an early indication of a balance shift back to in-person gaming. While operators will no longer need to rely solely on internet gambling revenue, it is poised to be a significant share of the casino gaming revenue mix.”

Overall gambling revenue for April 2021 was nearly quadruple the amount for April 2020

What a difference a year makes!

As reported in the 5/15/21 edition of ThePressofAtlanticCity.com, during April 2021 the Atlantic City casinos and the three NJ horse racing tracks that offer sports betting took in $352 million compared to only $82.5 million in April 2020. These figures do not include horse racing revenue. But they do include the racetracks’ sports betting revenue.

My May 21, 2020 article for NJ Gambling Websites, “Atlantic City Casino News: April was the Cruelest Month by Far,” covered the grim statistics in detail. I stated that the April 2020 gambling revenue was New Jersey’s lowest to date, easily eclipsing the previous record low set in March 2020. During March, the Atlantic City casinos were open and fully operating for the first half of the month, as compared to April when they were closed all month long. In April 2020, the amount that the casinos won from in-person gambling was zero.

One of the hardest hit properties was the Borgata, whose revenue for April 2020 reflected a 72.9 percent drop from April 2019.

The least affected casino was Golden Nugget because of its top-performing online casino.

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Atlantic City casino gambling revenue for April 2021 compared to April 2019

It is no surprise that the April 2021 revenue figures were 4x as high as the April 2020 figures. But how do they compare with the revenue generated by the Atlantic City casinos and NJ online casinos in 2019, a year before the shutdown?

According to James Plousis, chairman of the Casino Control Commission, “using April 2019 as a benchmark, the casino industry’s results in April are up more than 27%.”

Keep in mind, however, that this overall increase covers revenue from in-person Atlantic City gambling and NJ online gambling combined. During April 2021, the Atlantic City casinos won nearly $190 million from in-person gambling. That wasn’t as much as they won in April 2019, which makes sense since this April, attendance was still capped at 50 percent of capacity.

Which Atlantic City casinos generated the most revenue in April 2021?

Here are the stats showing how the nine Atlantic City casinos ranked, from first to last.

 

Atlantic City Casino

April 2021 reported gambling revenue

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

$78 million

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino AC

$41 million

Tropicana AC

$26.7 million

Ocean Casino Resort

$25.2 million

Harrah’s Resort AC

$20.7 million

Caesars AC*

$18.6 million

Resorts Casino Hotel*

$13.3 million

Golden Nugget AC*

$11.2 million

Bally’s AC

$11.1 million

*These three casinos now report their online gambling revenue separately The following are their internet gambling wins for April 2021:

The two newest Atlantic City casinos, Hard Rock and Ocean, are clearly here to stay

The data for April show that the most notable performance improvement occurred at Hard Rock. Its reported revenue from in-person gambling was 50 percent higher than in April 2019.

Ocean Casino Resort was another property that has reported remarkable recent success.

Here is what Hard Rock President Joe Lupo and Ocean CEO Terry Glebocki had to say about what the future looks like for their property and for the Atlantic City casino industry as a whole.

Lupo:

“With COVID-19 numbers and vaccination rates headed in the right direction, we are optimistic about a safe return to normalcy this summer at the Jersey shore.”

Glebocki:

“Restrictions are lifting, areas of business are reopening, and summer is about to begin. On the heels of a successful year, we are optimistic about the future of our casino resort and the return of tourism to Atlantic City.”

Summary and conclusion

Because of the recent downward trend in new positive virus cases, combined with the widespread availability of the vaccine throughout the state of New Jersey, Gov. Murphy has taken a major step in easing the previous restrictions. Effective May 19, attendance at the Atlantic City casinos can return to 100% of capacity. Social distancing and mask-wearing remain in effect. But the increased attendance, just in time for the big Memorial Holiday weekend and the start of summer will undoubtedly boost casino revenue significantly in the months to come.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that James Plousis, speaking for the Casino Control Commission, rather than for any individual casino, concurs with Lupo and Glebocki that Atlantic City is on the rebound. Plousis issued the following statement.

“With all necessary safety protocols in place and in concurrence with Gov. (Phil) Murphy‘s directives, Atlantic City is ready to welcome back visitors for the Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of what promises to be a robust summer season.”

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