Atlantic City casinos dramatically improved their profitability last year following the closure of four AC gaming venues in 2014.
According to figures released on Thursday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, AC’s eight surviving casino operators saw their revenue rise 2.3% to $3.7b in 2015, while gross operating profit – which doesn’t take into account taxes and some other large expenses – surged a hefty 40.3% to $547.4m.
Combined gaming revenue was up 3.1% to just under $2.5b, while room and food & beverage revenue each nudged up 0.8% to $406m and $441m, respectively. Entertainment & Other revenue was the lone decliner, falling 1.2% to $151m.
All eight surviving casinos posted individual operating profits in 2015, although the struggling Trump Taj Mahal only just cleared that hurdle with a net take of $3.1m. Still, that’s better than the $1.1m loss in 2014, so onward and upward.
As usual, the Borgata led the operating profit charge with $216m, nearly 40% of the market total. The Borgata also had the biggest year-on-year gain in dollar terms, earning over $57m more than in 2014. In relative terms, the biggest profit gain belonged to Resorts Casino, which surged 525% to $15.6m.
Speaking of the Borgata, a court has granted the casino the right to pursue a claim in tax court against AC’s municipal government, which doesn’t have the money to refund the tens of millions of tax dollars the courts have determined the Borgata has overpaid since 2009.
AC’s property values have plummeted along with its casino industry and courts have ruled that the Borgata overpaid its tax bill by $170m since 2009. This week a judge ruled that AC had violated an agreement to repay $88.2m covering the 2011 to 2014 tax years and gave the Borgata the green light to unleash their dogs and/or lawyers.
Of course, given that AC’s government says Friday will see the city run out of money to cover non-essential services or pay municipal employees, the Borgata could end up owning the Boardwalk. Either that, or AC’s mayor is simply waiting until the Borgata is Chris Christie’s problem.