Legal Atlantic City Sports Betting Sets Records As Casinos Continue To Struggle

Atlantic City Casinos
Atlantic City’s sports betting and online gambling numbers continue to make up for the decline in the revenue of the city’s nine brick and mortar casinos.

Atlantic City casinos reported a year over year decrease of 8% in Gaming wins for the month of October. However, online gaming revenue increased by more than 106% last month, contributing a total of $93.45M to the total monthly revenue of the industry. The total gaming revenue for the month of October, per the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, was $304M.

Atlantic City Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis gave credit to the gambling industry’s October 2020 performance during these difficult times. Said Plousis:

“During this time, Atlantic City continues to show resilience in the face of necessary and ongoing restrictions on capacity, amenities and entertainment.”

Impact of the Pandemic

The decrease in the revenue from table games and slot machines shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Atlantic City casinos. These brick and mortar gambling places were forced to close for 107 days beginning March 16th. They were allowed to reopen in early July but the capacity limitations, travel restrictions, and national recession have resulted in the decline of casino win in every month.

Atlantic City casinos reported $186.1M in casino win for October 2020. That amount is short of at least $16M from the total for October 2019. Of the nine Atlantic City casinos, only the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort, reported an increase in casino win for October 2020.

Through the first 10 months of 2020, the total gaming revenue and casino win have decreased by 23% and 46% respectively, compared to the same period last year. With two months left in the year, it’s unlikely that this year’s revenue will match 2019’s high of $3.29B in total casino industry gaming revenue.

Sports Betting Sets Records

While Atlantic City casino revenues continue to struggle, AC’s sports betting industry continues to set records. Sports gamblers wagered a record $803M during the month of October. These included bets placed at brick and mortar casinos, Atlantic City online gambling sites, and the city’s three racetracks.

Legal Atlantic City sports betting benefited from the MLB’s World Series and the NBA Finals which were both held last month. Likewise, the the NFL and NCAA college football started their respective seasons in October. As a result, October’s monthly handle easily bested the previous record of $748.6M set in September 2020.

New Jersey’s sportsbooks have taken nearly $4.1B in legal sports bets on a year to date basis. This has put the Atlantic City sports betting market on pace to break Nevada’s single-year record of $5.3M in sports wagers made .

Twin River Pledges $90M For Rehab of Bally’s Atlantic City

Ballys Atlantic City
The Rhode Island company which is buying the worst-performing Atlantic City casino has pledged to upgrade the property and beef up its current offerings.

During a public hearing before the Casino Control Commission last Wednesday, Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. committed to spending $90M over the next five years to rehabilitate Bally’s Atlantic City and make it competitive again.

Twin River is requesting for an interim casino authorization, a preliminary regulatory procedure before the granting of a full casino license, to operate Bally’s Atlantic City. The Rhode Island company, which will be changing its name to Bally’s on November 9th, agreed to purchase the casino hotel property from Caesars Entertainment Inc. and VICI Properties for $25M.

Said, Marc Crisafaulli, Twin Rivers executive vice president of strategic development and government relations:

“We want to make sure Bally’s is competitive again and return it to its former glory. We’re committed to making it a signature property again, right at the center of the Boardwalk. We know it’s going to take a lot of time, effort and investment.”

Expanding the Atlantic City Market

At Wednesday’s hearing, Executives from Twin River highlighted several key areas for the development plan for Bally’s. These include a partnership with FanDuel for a permanent sportsbook which will be opened in March, the renovation of more than 900 hotel rooms, creation of 30-40 mini-suites, and a brand new restaurant with bar which will be completed by summer.

Twin River CEO and President George Papanier also addressed the issue of a re-launched Bally’s hurting the other Atlantic City casinos. Papanier assured the Commission that it would be using its existing customer database from the New England, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia regions to expand AC’s gambling market.

Dead Last Among Nine AC Casinos

Bally’s Atlantic City was the third Atlantic City casino to open in 1979 and once led the market. But it has seen a steady decline and the last years have not been kind to it as Bally’s as it currently ranks dead last among the nine Atlantic City casinos in terms of revenue wins from gamblers. Bally’s Atlantic City has reported a win of $72M for the period January to September 2020. In contrast, AC’s top performing casino, the Borgata, has posted a $373M win over the same period.

Twin River initially planned to invest $56M in Bally’s but during Wednesday’s statement, it revealed that the amount has been increased to $90M. According to its Chief Finance Officer Stephen Capp, Twin Rivers has close to half-a-billion dollars worth of liquidity to draw upon.

Atlantic City Casinos Tell Governor: We Need Conventions

View of Atlantic City
A group composed of local officials, casino executives, and labor unions have asked Gov. Phil Murphy to ease restrictions on indoor gatherings so that conventions, meetings, and trade shows can resume in Atlantic City and so restaurants can accommodate more customers.

According to the group, if the current restrictions will be retained, businesses will incur significant losses, more jobs could be lost, and the economy will take longer to recover.

Said Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato in a letter to the Governor:

“Without the convention and meeting industry, the negative economic impact to both large and small businesses, including lost wages, will be devastating to the market and residents of Atlantic City and Atlantic County,”

Added Mark Gianntonio, President and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel:

“The casino industry has developed the most stringent health and safety protocols with the guidance of top healthcare experts. We have successfully and safely welcomed back indoor dining, and now is the time to begin to safely welcome back the convention and meeting business.”

Time of the Year For Conventions

November is traditionally the the time of year when Atlantic City is busy hosting multi-day conventions, bringing in thousands of visitors who would stay in hotels, patronize local restaurants and shops, and even finding their way to Atlantic City casinos. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, conventions are still prohibited right now.

On a normal year, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ and New Jersey Education Association would be in AC holding their conventions this month. However, they have resorted to holding virtual conventions due to the pandemic. Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Lost Economic Activity

According to an estimate from Meet AC, the sales and marketing organization of AC’s resorts, more than $182M in economic activity has been lost up to last week from cancelled conventions and meetings this year. This figure does not even include the canceled events at the casinos and the $112M that Atlantic City casinos lost during their forced closure from March to June this year.

The resorts have struggled with the 25% restriction in their properties and the total absence of conventions. Casino gaming has not returned to pre-pandemic figures mainly due to the restriction of travel and fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Because of this, Atlantic City casinos have been forced to cut jobs to mitigate losses. Last month, Atlantic City’s casinos reported a net decrease of 17.5% in employment versus 2019 figures.

Atlantic City Casinos to Resume Food and Beverage Operations on September 4

View of Atlantic City Beach

Good news for Atlantic City casinos and gambling patrons.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 183 which states that food and beverage operations in the state’s casinos may resume operations but at a 25% capacity. The order, which takes effect on Friday, September 4th at 6 am, is expected to boost casino operations during the coming Labor Day weekend.

The move came after New Jersey continues to improve its COVID-19 figures. The state has seen a total of 3,989 COVID-19 positive cases with 245 deaths and 2,697 recoveries as of last Tuesday. However, according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health, there were no COVID-19 related deaths for a six-day period ending last Tuesday.

Said Gov. Murphy:

“Given the progress we continue to see statewide, and with the proper precautions and limitations in place, I am proud that we can take this step today to allow our restaurants to once again welcome patrons back for indoor dining services.”

A Big Relief

The news came as a big relief to the Atlantic City casino industry which as been reeling since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down for four months beginning March this year. They were allowed to reopen last July but at a limited capacity and without food, drinks, and smoke.

Atlantic City casinos are coming off a three-month period where they suffered an aggregate loss of $112M with the Golden Nugget as the only gambling operator to have a positive result. The negative figure was an 85% decline from their performance for the same quarter in 2019.

Booze and Smoke Now Allowed

Under the Executive Order, casinos will be allowed to serve drinks to its customers on their gaming floors. However, booze must be ordered through a server and guests are prohibited from leaving their seats while consuming their beverages. E.O. 183 also permits gamblers to resume smoking on the gaming floors although casinos are given the option to maintain their smoking bans.

Casinos have been smoke-free since their reopening and while smokers find this decision as a relief, those who advocate smoke-free gambling will most certainly be disappointed, especially since many of them thought that the temporary ban would eventually become permanent.

The legislation also allows the operation of “indoor performance-based entertainment centers” but subject to the 25% capacity limit, a cap of 150 non-staff guests in any single venue, plus health and safety protocols. However, it remains to be seen if the casinos will open their entertainment venues since the income from limited operations may not compensate the cost to produce the shows.

Borgata Casino Files Lawsuit Against Ocean Casino

Borgata Hotel-Casino

Atlantic City’s top casino has filed a lawsuit against one of its competitors, claiming that the rival hired half-a-dozen of its former Marketing Executives in an effort to steal trade secrets.

The case was filed on Thursday by MGM Resort International’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa against Ocean Casino after the latter allegedly poached former Borgata executives in an attempt “to cripple” it by using details of its most profitable customers. According to Borgata, Ocean Casino violated unfair competition laws and agreements that prohibit at least two of the highest ranking executives from working for a competitor for a year after leaving.

High-Roller Customer Data

At the center of the complaint is former Borgata exec William Callahan who now works for Ocean Casino. It is alleged that Callahan has retained his Borgata-issued phone which contains valuable information about Borgata costumers. The lawsuit states that Callahan has refused to return the phone as recently as Monday this week.

Callahan was in charge of Borgata’s high-roller customers. These were patrons who spent $1.5M to $4M per visit and who would be flown in and out of the casino’s events using Borgata’s private jet. According to Borgata, these individuals were worth at least $25M per year to the company.

Aside from Callahan, Borgata also mentioned the name of former executive Kelly Ashman Burke in the document. The plaintiff also said that four other ex-marketing personnel have been hired by Ocean Casino in an attempt to “cripple” Borgata’s casino operations in Atlantic City.

Direct and Primary Competitor

The Borgata leads the nine-casino market in the area but in the lawsuit, it asserts that Ocean City is a direct and primary competitor for high-level customers in Atlantic City. Interestingly, Ocean Casino ranks just sixth among the nine Atlantic City casinos in terms of total revenues, making just one-thirds of what Borgata has raked in over the period.

The Ocean City Casino is the former Revel Casino which was shut down in 2014. The Revel operated for over two years and never came close to making a profit. But the casino reopened in 2018 under a new name and ownership and it has improved its ranking in the market.

Last month , Ocean Casino ranked second in Atlantic City casino win with its revenue of $23.6M a 23.1% increase against its July 2019 figures. Ocean saw nine straight months of slot pay growth before the coronavirus pandemic hit last March. Borgata was closed for the most part of July but in terms of income, it still makes three times more than any of its competitor.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Postpones Live Performances Until April

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City Guitar SIgnIn a continued trend, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City pulls the plug on their live shows at Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena, Sound Waves and Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But don’t worry, the live shows will go on. They’re scheduled to return after April 15.

DAER Nightclub will also suspend their operations until further notice.

According to Joe Lupo, Hard Rock’s president, the cancellations echo “national concern over the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus.”

Scheduled performers affected by the postponement include Adam Sandler, Pitbull and Christopher Cross, Neha Kakkar and more.

The official announcement asked ticket holders to hang onto their tickets while they determine future show dates. For shows that end up being canceled indefinitely, the company assured that refunds will be “issued at point of initial purchase for shows canceled or for those unable to attend a future postponed show.

Affected Events in Atlantic City Area

Governor Phil Murphy recommended on Thursday that events held in New Jersey, such as concerts, parades, and sporting events, that expect to have 250 or more people be canceled in an effort to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases.

Here is a list of larger events in the Atlantic City area that have been canceled or postponed on account of COVID-19:

  • Atlantic City St.Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 14 at 1 pm, canceled
  • Project Prom at Kensington Furniture in Northfield, scheduled to run Saturday, Sunday and Monday, canceled
  • ‘Guys and Dolls’ at Holy Spirit High School dress rehearsal, scheduled for Sunday, canceled
  • 98 Degrees show, scheduled for April 18 at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, postponed to July 11
  • The Atlantic City Boardwalk Committee Meeting, scheduled for March 18, canceled
  • The Wildwoods Spring Bridal Expo, scheduled for March 15, postponed to an unknown future date
  • Previously announced public events at Stockton University that have since been canceled:
    • March 14: Pinelands Short Course at Galloway campus
    • March 14: Aunt Mary Pat at Dante Hall in Atlantic City
    • March 15: Lines on the Pines at the Galloway campus
    • March 22: Bay Atlantic Symphony at the Performing Arts Center
    • March 24: Cape Atlantic Regional College Fair
    • March 27: The Byrne Brothers at the Performing Arts Center
    • March 28: Pirates of Penzance at the Performing Arts Center
    • April 2: Stockton Chamber Players at the Performing Arts Center
    • April 3: Think Pink Floyd at the Performing Arts Center
    • All Spring Break athletic field trips

Casino Companies Gear Up for Atlantic City’s 2020 Gaming Conference

Atlantic City is home to some of the most popular gambling venues in the country. For years, companies have discussed ways to improve their industry at the annual gaming conference here. Atlantic City’s 2020 gaming conference is shaping up to be a great one, with several major executives already scheduled to attend.Gaming Convention Event

This is one of the biggest annual gambling conferences in the country. This year’s event should be one of the best in recent memory. Now is the perfect time to look ahead at what the East Coast Gaming Conference will have to offer in 2020.

Gambling Revenue Continues to Increase in Atlantic City

We’ve reported on the revenue growth in Atlantic City for more than a year. About a decade ago, this city was on the brink of collapse. The recession took a major toll on the businesses here, causing many casinos to permanently shut their doors.

Things have completely turned around. Now, Atlantic City is one of the most profitable gambling markets in the country. Part of the reason for this is the legalization of sports betting.

New Jersey was one of the first states to approve sports betting legislation after PASPA was removed in May of 2018. This resulted in a huge increase in tourism to Atlantic City. Many bettors would even cross into New Jersey just to make a sports wager online.

Gambling revenue here increased for almost every single month last year. Both casino gambling and sports betting continue to bring in money. There are no signs of this slowing down anytime soon.

Every year, Atlantic City hosts a major conference called the East Coast Gaming Conference. It draws in some of the country’s top industry leaders. This year’s event should be one of the best to date.

Atlantic City’s 2020 Gaming Conference is Coming Together

Many gambling companies claim that the East Coast Gaming Conference in Atlantic City is the best in the country. It brings together a huge number of leaders in sports betting and casino gambling to discuss the future of their industries. The networking options alone bring in hundreds of individuals every single year.

Some of the most powerful casino executives in the world are now scheduled to appear at Atlantic City’s 2020 gaming conference. Guests will get to hear some of the new developments directly from these company officials. Here are some of the names scheduled to appear this year.

  • Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming.
  • Thomas Reeg, CEO of Eldorado Resorts.
  • Mario Kontomerkos, CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.
  • David Cordish, CEO of The Cordish Companies.
  • Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming.
  • Jay Dorris, president and CEO of Wind Creek Casino and Hotel.
  • Holly Gagnon, CEO of Seneca Gaming.
  • George Papanier, president and CEO of Twin River Worldwide Holdings.

Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey, is also scheduled to attend this event for the third straight year. The 24th event is expected to be one of the biggest ever.

The US gambling industry is changing at a rapid pace. Those wishing to learn more about the future of the industry should check this event out. Feel free to check out some of the amazing Atlantic City casinos while you’re there!