Last month, Atlantic City’s nine casinos brought in a whopping $275.1 million in total gaming revenue, an 18.4% over last February’s numbers. These figures were gathered from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Atlantic City continues on its astonishing 21 consecutive reporting period hot streak of monthly revenue increases. The growth period started nearly two years ago in June when Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort reopened their doors.
“Atlantic City reported strong results in February, which were aided by the calendar with its rare fifth Saturday,” said James Plousis, Casino Control Commission Chairman. “Revenue from slots, table games, internet wagering and sports wagering all grew. Internet wagering results were prominent, and the sports wagering handle already surpassed $1 billion for the year. These gaming options are providing important revenue streams while broadening the industry’s appeal.”
The Strongest February in Nearly a Decade
Last month’s results were the strongest for February in Atlantic City since 2011. In 2011, 11 casinos were in full swing, as compared to the nine currently operating in today’s Atlantic City.
According to Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, says the milder weather and efforts of city businesses to feature more on-site resort entertainment are among the biggest factors in increased visitation and revenue.
“The wintry weather that likely suppressed visitation, and in-turn land-based gaming revenues, in past years was not as much a factor in February 2020,” Pandit said. “The especially mild weather, and efforts by city businesses to bring more shoulder season entertainment to the resort, has led to increases in visitation.”
Ocean Casino Reports Largest Monthly Increase
Ocean casino saw the largest monthly revenue increase in February of the city’s nine properties. The resort took home $20.77 million in casino win, that’s a 51% increase from February 2019’s numbers.
This time last year, Ocean was changing ownership and leadership.
Ocean’s CEO, Terry Glebocki, said the second month of the year was an “incredibly strong month for the property” and said that slot business was up an incredible 88%.
Glebocki, the only woman chief executive officer of an Atlantic City casino, was officially named CEO last December. She worked hard to listen to AC customers’ concerns and address their needs.
“The property had a history of being tone-deaf to most A.C. customers and we’ve overcome that,” Glebocki said. “We were voted No. 1 casino in A.C. (in 2019 by Atlantic City Press) for best rooms, best comps and best players clubs. That’s because of what we stand for, giving people a fair deal.”
Ocean recently revamped their property, including revitalizing their dining options, creating a convenient new elevator bank that offers direct access from the hotel level to the casino level, and opening up their new Exhale Spa + Bathhouse, which was voted the top spa in New Jersey by Spas of America.
Online Gambling is a Safeguard for Coronavirus
While Atlantic City continues to see an uptick in their casino revenue, property owners are well aware of the toll COVID-19 could cause on the gaming industry, and how the impact could reach their shores.
Their strategy is to use online betting as a viable safeguard, should on-site gambling get impacted negatively.
The great news is that online betting is also up in the state and experienced a boost in February as well. Internet gaming revenue for February was $52 million, an increase of 63.7% over this time last year.
“Online casinos and sportsbooks should help buoy their land-based casino counterparts in Atlantic City should the coronavirus impact casino operations,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The Golden Nugget’s online casino already generates more revenue than its retail casino, and others have been closing the gap. That online revenue stream could prove vitally important in the coming months.”
Should the situation with the coronavirus outbreak get worse, online betting will be looked to more than ever as a buffer to get the industry through trying times.
“New Jersey’s year-over-year gains remained impressive in February, but we are in uncharted territory now,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Obviously there are bigger concerns with coronavirus, but the NBA is a major revenue driver for New Jersey’s sportsbooks. So the suspension of the season, in addition to suspensions of other sports, will undoubtedly have a significant effect.”
Stay tuned to see if casino gaming revenue continues on its upward trajectory in Atlantic City, or if New Jersey will get impacted by the coronavirus in the coming month.