As the Atlantic City casino industry is still trying to rebound from the devastating effects of last year’s prolonged shutdown, the land-based casinos still struggle. Since March 19, 2021, maximum attendance has been increased to 50 percent of capacity.
But that doesn’t mean that many people consistently show up. But, thankfully, month after month, NJ online casino revenue continues to save the day.
March is no exception. In fact, The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) recently released the figures for March, and NJ online casino revenue soared to an all-time high!
How NJ online casino revenue for March compared to previous months
According to the latest data from the DGE, NJ online casino revenue for March 2021 reached a record-high $113.7 million. It marked the highest single month revenue figure posted by NJ online casinos in the history of NJ online gambling. It also marked only the second time the NJ online casino gambling industry posted a monthly revenue exceeding $100 million.
The previous high of $103.7 million occurred in January 2021.
Which NJ online casinos performed best?
Another new development with regard to NJ online casino revenue is that Golden Nugget, the long-time leader in this category, for the first time ever, got knocked out of the top spot. Instead, Borgata Online Casino and its online partners claimed the honor.
Here are the results for March listed from highest to lowest for all of the NJ online gambling operators.
- Borgata: $36.2 million
- Golden Nugget: $31.8 million
- Caesars Interactive: $9.75 million
- Tropicana: $7.25 million
- Hard Rock: $6 million
- Ocean: $1.26 million
The contribution of sports betting to the NJ online casino revenue bottom line
March also proved to be a good month for sports betting in New Jersey. This was probably due in large part to March Madness, which got canceled last year but returned this year.
The total handle for the month amounted to $859.6 million. It was the fourth-highest since sports betting first became legal in New Jersey in 2018.
The total NJ sports gambling revenue for March reached $60.76 million, of which $26.45 million came from the Atlantic City casinos and their online partners. Most of the remainder came from the Meadowlands Racetrack and its online partners.
So far, just in 2021, the amount of money that has been bet legally on sports in the State of NJ exceeds $2.56 billion. However, according to the DGE, nearly 92 percent of that lofty sum, rather than being bet in-person, has been wagered online or through mobile apps.
Total Atlantic City casino revenue
Total Atlantic City casino revenue in March, which includes the total casino wins from Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos, NJ online gambling, and sports betting combined amounted to nearly $335 million.
However, rather than compare last month’s figures with those for March 2020 (when all of the Atlantic City casinos received the order to close mid-month), a more meaningful comparison would be with 2019.
Total Atlantic City casino revenue was actually higher in March 2021 than in March 2019. However, that resulted primarily from the contribution of online gambling. If we don’t count online gambling and we look at the figures just for the brick and mortar casinos, a very different picture emerges.
Whereas in March 2019, the Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos reported winnings of $223.2 million from slots and table games, in March 2021, their profit from those games dipped to $184.2 million. The difference should come as no surprise.
Atlantic City casinos are still operating at reduced capacity and with restricted services and amenities.
Back in 2019, the casinos operated without any of the COVID-19 related restrictions that were put in place when they reopened in July 2020. Maximum attendance was increased from 25 percent of capacity to 35 percent on Feb. 5, 2021, and further increased to 50 percent on March 19, 2021. However, even now in April, many other restrictions, special health, and safety protocols, and curtailed services and amenities remain in place.
According to James Plousis, Chairman of the NJ Casino Control Commission, these precautionary measures are necessary to help ensure a safe playing environment.
Summary and Conclusion
When all nine Atlantic City casinos had to close in March 2020, the 21-month streak of year-to-year total gaming revenue increases abruptly ended. And when 2020 came to a close, the previous three-year streak of increased annual casino win ended as well.
As a March 11, 2021 article on NJgamblingsites.com points out, the total Atlantic City casino win had declined by nearly 44 percent. The total win reported by the nine Atlantic City casinos combined for 2019 amounted to just under $2.7 billion. That figure plummeted to $1.5 billion in 2020.
But as devastating as the prolonged closure of the Atlantic City casinos in 2020 and the lingering aftereffects have been, there finally appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
The figures for March clearly suggest that.
Also, most importantly, the combination of 50 percent maximum capacity, the availability of a vaccine, and warmer weather should all contribute to increased attendance at the Atlantic City casinos and a corresponding increase in revenue generated.
Meanwhile, Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, makes a valid point:
“The March report, compared with previous years, shows the importance to the industry’s future of balancing brick and mortar operations with online options.”
NJ Online Casino will continue to keep you informed on a monthly basis regarding the performance of each segment of the Atlantic City casino industry.