A combination of the introduction of legalized sports betting, two new casino openings, and the ongoing growth of online betting all made a difference to Atlantic City’s casino gaming revenue.
The result means that the city saw a total gaming revenue increase of almost eight percent last year compared to 2017. But this isn’t good news for everyone: out of the seven casinos that were open before, the Ocean Resort and Hard Rock casinos opened in June took in less in 2018 than in 2017.
A report put out on January 14th by the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Attorney General announced the December 2018 “Total Gaming Revenue Results” showed how much the casinos made in 2018 overall and December alone.
In mid-May when the Supreme Court overturned the sports betting ban, several states jumped on the chance to go and legalize sports gambling. New Jersey was one of the first states to open commercial sportsbooks.
Since the first sports bets were taken in June, the two racetracks and casinos took in $1.24 billion in wagers. For the last six months of 2018, the industry generated a little over $94 million in revenue for the tracks and casinos. The State of New Jersey got $10.4 million in sports betting tax revenue.
Sports betting at casino properties made up $9.3 million in revenue in December for the casinos in Atlantic City. Sports betting for the city in December, including at the two licensed racetracks, was reported at $20.8 million. Monmouth Park took in $12.4 million and Meadowlands earned $31.3 million in sportsbook revenue.
Since June, when the first sportsbook opened in the city, over $1.24 billion has been placed as wagers on sports for online and mobile betting platforms, at the racetracks, or in the casinos. In just December, over $319 million was wagered on sports in the state.
Two new casinos that opened on June 27, 2018, were Ocean Resort, which was the former Revel, and Hard Rock, which is the former Trump Taj Mahal. The Revel closed in 2014 and the Trump Taj Mahal closed in 2016. These new casinos accounted for a big part of the revenue increase.
Internet gaming revenue in New Jersey went up 21.6 percent and brought operators $298.7 million in net revenue in 2018. In December 2018, the Internet gaming revenue generated $29 million, which was up almost 40 percent year-on-year with December 2017.
Internet gaming in New Jersey has generated over $1 billion in revenue since it was launched in 2013.
In Atlantic City, a slump between 2014 and 2016 saw five casinos close their doors. When two new casino operators announced they would be opening casinos in the old Trump Taj Mahal and Revel casinos, people were excited at first.
But now, stakeholders are getting worried that they’re about to over-saturate the casino market in Atlantic City, which will send them right back into that slump.
According to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, 2018 was the third year in a row that Atlantic City’s gambling revenue increased.
However, James Plousis, Chairman of the NJCCC, said that while last year was the third year of revenue growth for the casino industry in Atlantic City, the two new casinos have had a negative impact on the older casinos:
“While the city had a good year, market adjustments from competition occurred and will continue into 2019. The continuing strength of internet gaming plus a growing sports wagering market will provide the industry with tools to compete.”
Out of the seven casinos that were running before the two new ones opened in June, only one showed a revenue increase from 2017. The Golden Nugget saw an increase of 13.7 percent to $327.8 million. The Borgata, which is the typical market leader, saw a revenue decline of four percent to $771.1 million in 2018.
Tropicana brought in 2.5 percent less at almost $381 million but kept its place as the city’s number-two casino when it comes to gambling revenue. Resorts was down 3.3 percent, Harrah’s was down 8.4 percent, Bally’s was down 9.1 percent, and Caesars was down 13.5 percent.
The information for the two new casinos for the last half of 2018 showed that Hard Rock took in $166.7 million in revenue and Ocean Resort took in $101.1 million in revenue.
New Jersey has two Internet-only gaming entities, Resorts Digital and Caesars Interactive-NJ. Resorts digital was up 76.3 percent and Caesars Interactive-NJ was up 5.9 percent.
The Golden Nugget took $104 million online last year, almost twice of what the Borgata took in.
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