Atlantic City casinos closed out 2018 with a solid December performance, pushing the market to its third straight year of annual gaming revenue gains.
On Monday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported the state’s nine casino operators generated brick-and-mortar gaming revenue of $209m in December, 12.3% better than December 2017’s result.
December’s slots revenue was up 10.7% to slightly under $146.6m while gaming table revenue jumped 16.2% to nearly $62.5m. December’s numbers brought the full-year 2018 revenue total to $2.51b, up 4% from 2017’s total, which was up only 0.3% from 2016’s numbers.
Throw in December’s online gambling and sports betting contributions and the year-on-year percentage gain for December rises to 19.5%. Counting those other revenue sources, annual statewide gaming win for 2018 was up 9.2% to $2.9b.
Despite all the positive momentum, the individual property numbers for December continued the negative trend of the past few months. For the second month in a row, only Resorts Casino & Hotel posted a year-on-year brick-and-mortar gaming revenue gain, rising 2.3% to $14.2m.
All the other properties had a negative December, with the biggest percentage decline reported by Harrah’s, which fell 19.3% to $23.6m. The Borgata led the revenue chart with $57.4m, although this was still down 0.6% year-on-year.
AC’s two newest properties – Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino (ORC) – had a mixed December, reporting revenue of $23.64m and $11.9m, respectively. Hard Rock’s numbers reversed its five-month trend of sequential revenue declines, while ORC suffered its fourth straight month of decline and once again ranked below the other eight operators.
ORC was reported sold last week, although the buyer’s identity remains a mystery. However, the former ORC nightclub manager whose lawsuit against ORC owner Bruce Deifik revealed that new owners were being sought is casting doubts on reports of a sale.
Joey Morrissey told Metro that he wasn’t buying the sale report, calling it “a bullshit story” given the lack of comment by state regulators regarding the new owners’ identity. Morrisey further claimed that Deifik “never knew what he was doing” after acquiring ORC (the former Revel) in January 2018 and that the Colorado developer “probably thought he could flip [the property] from the get-go” and had been “trying to get another pigeon in there to save his ass.”