According to a Nov. 13, 2020 article on ThePressofAtlanticCity.com, Atlantic City casino revenue was still down in October, but online gaming and sports betting were way up.
The impact of online gaming and sports betting on total October 2020 Atlantic City casino revenue
According to the latest data released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement, total gaming revenue reported by the nine Atlantic City casinos for October amounted to $304 million. This represented a 14.2 percent increase compared to October 2019. However, if it were not for the disproportionate contribution of online gaming and sports betting, October 2020 Atlantic City casino revenue would have been much less.
October was a record-setting month for NJ legal sports betting. Those results along with a triple-digit percentage increase in online gaming revenue helped offset another lackluster month for the Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos.
One would expect October to be a very good month for sports betting any year. Pro and college football are both in full swing, and the baseball playoffs and World Series also take place in October.
But due to the earlier interruption this year of all major sports, for the first time ever, there was betting on basketball and hockey, too. So it was no surprise that the total amount wagered at NJ sportsbooks in October 2020 not only surpassed the amount bet in October 2019 but also the prior monthly record of $748.6 million in September 2020.
In fact, a record-setting $803 million was wagered legally on sports at the Atlantic City casinos, NJ online casinos, and three NJ racetracks. Those sports bets generated $24.56 million in revenue for the Atlantic City casinos and $58.5 million for the state.
During the entire time that the Atlantic City casinos remained closed, revenue came almost exclusively from online gaming. However, even after the land-based casinos reopened, the popularity of NJ online casinos did not diminish.
Compared to October 2019, online gaming revenue increased more than 106 percent and accounted for $93.45 million of the October total.
But October was another disappointing month for the Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos
The Atlantic City casinos finally reopened in July after an unprecedented mandatory closure of over 100 days due to the coronavirus. However, capacity limits, travel restrictions, and a national recession continued to negatively impact brick and mortar Atlantic City casino revenue in a big way. In October, for the fourth straight month since the casinos had reopened, slot and table game wins were lower than they were in the corresponding month in 2019.
The total reported win for the nine Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos combined for October 2020 was $186.1 million. This represented a decrease of more than $16 million compared to October 2019.
Only two properties—the two newest casinos, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort, made more money in October 2020 than in October 2019.
Annual total Atlantic City casino revenue is also anticipated to be less than last year’s
Since 2015, annual total Atlantic City casino revenue has increased every year, with 2019 setting a new record of $3.29 million.
However, for the 10-month period of January through October 2020, total gaming revenue and casino win have declined by 23 percent and 46 percent, respectively compared to the figures for the same period last year.
Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, thinks that with only a little over a month left in the year, it is unlikely that this year’s casino gaming revenue ($2.1 billion through October) will match last year’s.
Bokunewiz also said that the growth of online gambling and sports betting should not be “considered a substitute for land-based gaming in terms of overall recovery for the industry.”
However, Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis views the overall picture more optimistically. On Nov. 13, he issued the following statement:
“During this time, Atlantic City continues to show resilience in the face of necessary and ongoing restrictions on capacity, amenities, and entertainment,”
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayNJ.com, concurs and feels that NJ should be especially proud of its accomplishments in the legalized sports betting industry.
Through October, NJ sportsbooks have taken nearly $4.1 billion in legal wagers this year, and at that pace, it could break Nevada’s single-year record of $5.3 billion.
Here is Gouker’s take on these data.
“The record-setting pace has now continued even as October’s sports schedule returned to something more resembling normal, which is a great sign for the industry’s near-term.”
“New Jersey is now clearly the standard-bearer among legal sports jurisdictions, and the state seems to only be widening the gap.”
“October’s results suggest a new permanent trajectory for New Jersey, with no apparent signs of letting up.”