Atlantic City casinos suffered another year-on-year gaming revenue decline in May, and this time they can’t blame the weather gods.
On Wednesday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported that Atlantic City’s seven casinos generated total gambling revenue of $217.7m in May, 5.1% less than they earned in May 2017.
The numbers look even worse once you strip out the near-record $24.3m the casinos’ online gambling operations earned in May. Total brick-and-mortar gaming revenue was down 7.2% to $194.4m.
The decline came courtesy of the casinos’ table games, which saw revenue tumble by one-quarter to $48.2m. Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis noted that May 2017 featured a higher than usual table win for the casinos, while gamblers got their revenge last month. Slots revenue was up less than 1% to just under $145.2m.
On purely brick-and-mortar revenue terms, just three casinos were net gainers in May. The Tropicana posted the biggest gain, rising 7.3% to $30.9m, which elevated the Trop into a rare second-place finish for the month. The Golden Nugget was up 5.7% to $19.7m while Resorts eked out a 1.2% rise to $15.5m.
As for the losers, the Borgata was down 10% to $61.4m, although that wasn’t sufficient to cause it to lose its market-leading position. All three Caesars Entertainment venues were in the red, with Harrah’s declining 7.1% to $27.4m, Bally’s dropping 11.5% to $16.6m and Caesars tumbling nearly one-quarter to just under $22.3m.
Thursday morning will see the Borgata take its first legal sports wager in its newly converted Race & Sports Book. AC’s other casinos are expected to follow with their own sportsbooks in short order to capture some of the extra foot traffic from giddy bettors who can’t believe they won’t get busted for engaging in their favorite pastime.
Sports betting couldn’t have come along at a better time, because 2018 has so far not been kind to AC’s casinos, at least, not in gaming revenue terms, and the competition for those dwindling dollars is about to get more intense.
On June 28, two new/old casinos – the Hard Rock Atlantic City and the Ocean Resort Casino – are scheduled to (re)open their doors to the public. The Hard Rock received its gaming license last month but Ocean Resort Casino owner Bruce Deifik has a June 20 meeting with the Casino Control Commission in a last-minute bid to ensure the casino will receive its license by the 28th.