In an impressive 20-month streak, gaming revenue has been on the rise for Atlantic City casinos, with January being the seventh consecutive month of double-digit growth.
“2020 is off to a promising start for Atlantic City,” said 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. “The city continues to see increased sports betting and tourism, two important economic drivers. I look forward to a year of continued progress in 2020.”
And all nine of the city’s casinos are feeling the growth.
According to Ocean Casino Resort CEO Terry Glebocki, their slot revenues were especially impressive, increasing a whopping 87% since last January. Glebocki says they will continue investing in their property with the addition of the new high limit slot parlor, Asian gaming salon, and VIP lounge.
Atlantic City’s newest properties, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort, are to thank for much of the city’s booming revenue increase. They ranked third and sixth in the market in their total revenue from tables and slots. That’s a 36% increase compared with 2019’s levels. Altogether, the city saw their tables and slots revenue go up 8.3%.
According to data released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, casinos reported a total gaming revenue of $270.5 million last month. That’s a 22.6% increase, or $50 million, from last January.
James Plousis, Casino Control Commission Chairman, said “revenue from slots, table games, internet waging, and sports wagering all grew.” Adding that:
“Internet and sports wagering did particularly well, bolstering the industry’s performance in the middle of the traditional offseason.”
Online Revenue is Booming
In a series of firsts, Internet gaming revenue passed the $55 million mark in January. There has been a 64% increase in revenue last year, which is over a $21 million jump.
Of that $55 million, close to half of that amount came from Golden Nugget alone, with them dominating $21.2 million of the online gaming pie.
Exciting even still, is that, according to industry experts, online casino gaming has yet to hit its “sweet spot” in the state.
According to Eric Ramsey, gaming analyst for PlayNJ.com, if current revenue patterns continue, hitting $700 million is “within reach in 2020, which would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.”
Sports Betting is Largely to Thank
“The industry’s ability to find new areas of growth, along with the symbiotic relationship that exists with online sports betting, will keep online casino gambling moving forward,” Ramsey said.
It’s no secret. Sports betting is huge money in the world of wagering, and Atlantic City is cashing in on it. The city’s sports betting revenues are up 139.9%, resulting in a $23.4 million increase in revenue for the city’s casinos and their online/mobile partners.
Sports wagering even brings in gamblers who end up staying for additional gaming experiences. According to Plousis:
“Guests who came to wager on sports events took the opportunity to explore Atlantic City’s abundant gaming and non-gaming option. Casino executives I’ve spoken with were very pleased that customers stayed longer to enjoy the city’s diverse dining and entertainment offerings. Making investments that lead to positive customer experiences can provide strong competitive advantage for Atlantic City.”
New Jersey Could Possibly Out-Rank Nevada
That numbers for last month saw $540 million legally wagered on sports, thanks to the wide variety of highly-anticipated, annual NFL sporting events going on at the time, including the NFL playoffs and college football championship games.
With the current trajectory of gaming earnings in the state, betting experts believe that New Jersey won’t only go toe-to-toe with Nevada, the nation’s top-earning gambling state, but that it will surpass it in time. While January saw New Jersey earn over $500 million in revenue, Nevada, which earned $497.5 million in January 2019, has yet to surpass the $500 million mark.
“New Jersey could very well top Nevada, not just in January, but for the foreseeable future,” said Dustin Gouker, another lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “And assuming that happens, we could be seeing the beginning of New Jersey’s more permanent place as the top market in the country.”