Atlantic City Casino Results A Mixed Bag In May

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Reviewing the winners and losers in the Garden State.

Atlantic City Casino Results A Mixed Bag In May

Racheal Grazias // Shutterstock

John Brennan US Gambling News Editor

John is our gambling industry expert for New Jersey bringing the breaking news in all things NJ online gaming

  • Bally's had a monster month of May in terms of revenue.
  • Harrah's revenue fell by 10%.
  • Ocean's Casino was up 17.3% year over year in the month of May.

Ocean Casino's revenue results in May, released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement last week, suggest a boom time in Atlantic City.

The Boardwalk property - built from the remnants of the failed Revel Casino and opened in 2018 - produced a 17.3% increase compared to May 2022, to $29.8 million.

That helped Ocean maintain its slot at No. 3 in the nine-casino marketplace, trailing Borgata ($60.5 million) and Hard Rock ($38.8 million).

But both of those other casinos experienced single-digit drops in revenue from a year earlier

In fact, the only "success story" in May other than Ocean was Bally's - up 4.2% to $13.2 million, enabling Bally's to send  Golden Nugget ($12.7 million) to the industry basement while climbing to within a whisker of Resorts ($13.4 million).

Harrah's Falters

The biggest decliner was Harrah's, down just over 10% to $19 million.

How do these numbers compare to pre-pandemic levels such as in May 2019? In that month, Atlantic City casinos produced a slightly lower $222.9 million in revenue.

“This is the continuation of a return to pre-pandemic levels, but not the amount of growth many may have hoped to see from this sector, Jane Bokunewicz, the faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, said in a statement.

"Traditional gaming products like slots and table games are not growing as quickly as newer products - for example, online slots and mobile sports betting. This hints at a lasting change in consumer behavior, as casino patrons have made these newer products part of their regular casino experience.”

A look at year-to-date revenues shows similarly modest growth - from $1.08 billion in the first five months of 2022 to $1.11 billion in that same time frame in 2023.

The bulk of Atlantic City casino “win totals” comes from slot machines, and in May 2023 the fall was under 1% - to $172.9 million. The larger issue was with table games like blackjack and roulette – revenue was down there by 7.3% - to $54.4 million.

The jump in online casino revenue from May 2022 to May 2023 looks exciting on the surface, up almost 19% to $161.4 million. But keep in mind that casinos only collect about one-third of that figure – the rest goes to the online casino partners who actually run that business.

Still, that incremental additional revenue not only proved to be a lifesaver during the pandemic – brick-and-mortar casinos shut down from March 2020 until that July 4 weekend – it also has added a significant boost to casinos’ overall bottom lines.

So far in 2023, online casino operators have contributed $117.2 million in taxes, compared to $70.5 million from brick-and-mortar casino gaming. Online sports betting has brought in another $46.9 million in taxes – with the bulk of the latter figure coming from the Meadowlands Racetrack’s partnership with daily fantasy sports giant FanDuel.

Retail sportsbook operations at Atlantic City casinos has produced a paltry $69,004 in tax revenue so far this year – compared to nearly $1 million from the FanDuel sportsbook at the Meadowlands and another $155,350 from the sportsbook at Monmouth Park. 

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