Atlantic City casinos lean hard on betting, iGaming as land-based ops slide


Atlantic City casinos managed to hold their November losses to single-digit territory, but only because their online casino and sports betting operations are shouldering more of the load.

On Monday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that AC’s nine casinos generated combined brick-and-mortar slots and table game revenue of nearly $146.6m in November, a 34.6% fall from November 2019 and 21.2% below October 2020’s total

However, thanks to the $114.3m brought in by the state’s sportsbooks and online casinos last month, November’s overall revenue figure was down only 9.6% year-on-year to $260.9m.  

November’s brick-and-mortar losses were broad-based, with slots down 35% to $101.8m while tables dipped one-third to $44.7m. For the year-to-date, brick-and-mortar slots & tables are down nearly 45% to $1.365b, setting the market up for its first year of negative growth since 2015 once December’s stats are in the books.

On a purely slots & table basis, the Hard Rock Atlantic City was the only casino to post annual growth in November, rising 19% to $28m. The Ocean Casino Resort came closest to joining that elite group, with revenue falling a mere 1.3% to $19.5m. 

At the other end of the spectrum, Caesars AC slumped 56% to just $12.4m, while its sister property Harrah’s fell 50.7% to $12.6m. The Golden Nugget, which nowadays is more an excuse to operate its online casino, fell 49% to just $8.7m. Even the mighty Borgata was down 38% to $36.6m. 

Adding in the other verticals didn’t change much, as the Hard Rock was one of only two net gainers, rising 32.3% to $34.65m, while Ocean Casino Resort improved 5.2% to $23.8m. Here again, the two Caesars properties led the decliners, each down over 50% year-on-year. 

In a bid to boost its dwindling appeal, Harrah’s plans to reopen its live poker room the day after Christmas. The Press of Atlantic City quoted Harrah’s GM Ron Baumann saying the World Series of Poker-branded room will open each day at noon and shut at 4am, with tables limited to eight players, each of whom will be ensconced behind polycarbonate dividers. 

Harrah’s aims to steal a little of the Borgata’s thunder, after that casino reopened its poker room in October. To date, none of the other three casinos with live poker spaces have seen fit to follow the Borg’s lead, while the Ocean Casino went the other way and converted its poker room into a high-limit slots area. (Not for nothing, but the Ocean was the only AC casino to post an operating profit in Q3.)