Sports Betting & Casino Gaming Were Down In Feb. Even With The Super Bowl

Barbara Nathan Updated on March 29, 2021
nj casino gaming revenue

Months after the shuttered Atlantic City casinos were allowed to reopen, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt. February 2021 was another lackluster month for casino gaming revenue, which was to be expected. But another finding that was not expected was that the sports betting handle was also down.

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NJ sports betting was less in February than in January

According to a March 17 article on ThePressofAtlanticCity.com, NJ sports betting revenue for Feb. 2021 was a flat-out disappointment. The states’ casinos and racetracks wound up taking in over $200 million less in sports bets in February than they did in January.

Recently released figures from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) indicated that the sports betting handle for February amounted to $743 million, compared to $995 million in January.

The findings are somewhat surprising, given that the Super Bowl took place in February. On the other hand, sports betting revenue (the amount that the sportsbooks won from gamblers) was slightly higher than in Feb. 2020.

The total sports betting handle for Feb. 2021 was only about $200 million higher than for Feb. 2020. Those figures combined with a strong performance again from internet gambling enabled the casinos and racetracks to barely exceed their February total from a year ago.

February 2021 proved to be a tough month for Atlantic City casino gaming, too

Unfortunately, business for Feb. 2021 at the Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos was down more than 32 percent compared to Feb. 2020, prior to the prolonged casino closures. However, some casino properties continue to feel the impact much more than others.

The following table shows at a glance which individual Atlantic City casinos fared best in Feb. 2021 and which experienced the greatest decline in revenue from a year ago.

Atlantic City Casino Gaming Revenue* for Feb. 2021 Compared to Feb. 2020

Casino

2021

2020

Percent Change

Bally’s

$7.2

$12.1

N/A (new owner)

Borgata

$67.6

$66.4

1.8%

Caesars

$22.1

$25.3

-12.8%

Golden Nugget

$36.8

$35.5

3.7%

Hard Rock

$29.2

$26.9

8.6%

Harrah’s

$15.0

$26.4

-43.1%

Ocean

$21.8

$21.3

2.4%

Resorts

$30.6

$31.0

18.1%

Tropicana

$22.0

$30.1

-26.8

Total Industry

$28.5

$275.5

-6.0%

 

*Dollar figures are listed in millions with the numbers rounded.

As you can see from the table, the Borgata had the highest casino gaming revenue last month by far, followed by Golden Nugget in second place and Resorts in third place. However, only four of the eight casinos produced more revenue in Feb. 2021 than in Feb. 2020. The two casinos showing the biggest year-to-year losses were Harrah’s and Tropicana.

 Meanwhile, internet gaming saved the day

 On the other hand, the data showed that the revenue from online and mobile gambling was way up in Feb. 2021 compared to Feb. 2020 across the board.

Internet Gaming Revenue* for Feb. 2021 Compared to Feb. 2020

 

Casino

2021

2020

Percent Change

Borgata

$25.7

$8.1

216.0%

Caesars Interactive

$8.6

$4.5

89.8%

Golden Nugget

$27.9

$19.8

41.1%

Hard Rock

$4.5

$2.8

80.3%

Ocean

$0.8

$0.4

98.2%

Resorts Digital

$19.7

$12.5

58.4%

Tropicana

$6.5

$3.8

69.4%

Total Industry

$93.8

$52.0

80.4%

 *Dollar figures are listed in millions with the numbers rounded.

Although Golden Nugget continued to lead the way, as it has been doing every month, Borgata has closed the gap considerably. The two casinos should continue to run neck and neck in the ensuing months. It will be interesting to see if Borgata can ultimately overtake Golden Nugget for internet revenue supremacy.

The continuing effect of the pandemic on Atlantic City casino gaming revenue

 The Lloyd Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University released a report on March 16 indicating how the pandemic impacted the Atlantic City casino gaming industry.

According to the Levenson report, Atlantic City casino gaming revenue from slots, table games, poker, and in-person sports betting declined by more than 48 percent from Feb. 2020. However, online casino gambling and sports betting revenue increased by nearly 92 percent.

The difference can be attributed to the fact that many customers continued to avoid going to the casinos to gamble, preferring to do so online or on mobile devices instead. In fact, before the pandemic, online betting accounted for only about 20 percent of the total Atlantic City casino gaming revenue, but it has since increased to nearly 47 percent.

The Stockton report also revealed significant decreases in the amount of automobile and air travel to Atlantic City and in the number of people attending meetings and conventions in Atlantic City over the past year.

The Atlantic City casinos are finally on the road to recovery

According to James Plousis, chairman of the Casino Control Commission, it was inevitable for Atlantic City casino gaming revenue for Feb.2021 to be less than it was a year ago. During Feb. 2020 no restrictions on capacity, amenities, and entertainment existed.

However, Gov. Murphy’s recent order allowing indoor casino capacity to increase to 50 percent should help speed the recovery process.

Furthermore, “Atlantic City has been a successful minimizing risk to visitors during the pandemic, and it is ready to move forward safely.”

Meanwhile, March Madness is underway, so the next few weeks look like a great time for sports betting, too.

NJ Online Casino will continue our monthly reports on the latest developments in the road to recovery of the Atlantic City casino gaming and sports betting industry.

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