Atlantic City casinos’ flat October; Borgata building sportsbook


mgm-borgata-casino-sportsbookAtlantic City casinos eked out the smallest of brick-and-mortar revenue gains in October, despite all but two casinos posting year-on-year improvements.

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) released its October gaming revenue report, which showed the state’s seven casino operators generated a combined $185.8m, a mere 0.2% rise over the same month last year.

If you counted the $848k contributed by the Trump Taj Mahal before it shut its doors early in October 2016, the year-on-year comparison actually shows a 0.3% decline. But things named Trump have ruined enough things this year, so we’ll just shunt that unfortunate reality into the ditch and say no more about it.

The month’s middling numbers were largely the result of the casinos (one casino in particular) playing unlucky at their table games, which resulted in table revenue falling 3.7% to $50.5m, while slots rose 1.1% to $135.3m.

The month’s numbers look a lot brighter once you throw in the over $20.5m generated via New Jersey’s online gambling sites, which pushed October’s total gaming up 1.7% year-on-year to $206.4m.

For the year-to-date, brick-and-mortar gaming revenue is up 0.3% to $2.04b, while total gaming win is up 2.2% to $2.24b. Subtracting last year’s contributions from the Taj Mahal, this year’s total gaming win is up 8.4%.

As always, the Borgata led the brick-and-mortar revenue charts, but the casino also posted the month’s biggest year-on-year decline, falling 8.7% to $55.2m. The Borgata’s plunge was entirely down to its table games, which suffered a nearly 14% drop in turnover while table revenue was off 28% to $14.1m.

Harrah’s was up 3.5% to $30.3m, while Caesars gained 9.5% to $25.7m, followed by the Tropicana ($24.6m, -0.8%), Golden Nugget ($18.1m, +9.4%), Bally’s ($16.8m, +1.7%) and Resorts ($15m, +4.7%).

On Wednesday, word emerged from the Sports Betting USA confab in New York that MGM Resorts, which owns the Borgata, may have found a way to hedge against the property’s tables suffering similar runs of bad luck in the future.

According to people on the scene, MGM is placing a rather large bet that New Jersey’s quest for legal sports betting will prove a winner. Jay Rood, who heads up MGM’s Race & Sports division, is reportedly headed to AC to oversee construction of a pricey new sportsbook at the Borgata.

MGM isn’t the only operator to have bet big on New Jersey’s sports betting future, as William Hill US – one of Nevada’s leading sports betting technology providers – built a ‘ready when you are’ sportsbook at the state’s Monmouth Park racetrack way back in 2014, and is reportedly dusting off the joint as we speak.