New Jersey’s casinos, horse tracks that offer sports betting, and the online partners of both types of gambling outlets won over $445 million in October, according to figures released Thursday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The total is down by less than 1% from the same period a year earlier.
However, money won from in-person gamblers at the casinos, which is seen as the most important metric for the Atlantic City casino industry, delivered mixed results. Revenue here fell by more than 7% from a year earlier, but surpassed the level of October 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“In keeping with established seasonal patterns, total and brick-and-mortar casino revenue — slots, table games and poker — for Atlantic City’s casinos began to cool in October,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, as reported by Associated Press.
However, Bokunewicz also noted that in-person gambling winnings for the first 10 months of this year ($2.35 billion) are running 4.5% ahead of the amount won over the same 10 months in 2019. The city’s nine casinos won $220.6 million from in-person gamblers in October, a 7.1% decrease compared to $237.5 million for October 2021.
While in-person gambling figures are aided by winnings from sports betting and internet gamblers, casino executives warn those alternative revenue streams are “misleading,” in that much of the win in the segment must be shared with third parties, including sportsbooks and tech providers.
Thus, gambling properties in the destination are particularly concerned with getting back to and surpassing pre-pandemic business levels. And while this is something the casinos collectively achieved in October, not everyone succeeded.
Four casinos — Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, Ocean Casino Resort and Resorts Casino Hotel — had higher in-person revenue last month than they did in 2019, notes AP. But the remaining five properties — Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Tropicana Atlantic City — had less of this type of revenue than pre-pandemic.
In terms of in-person revenue, Borgata led the segment by winning $62.4 million, up 1.2% from a year ago; while Hard Rock won $38.9 million, up 4%. Ocean won $28.3 million, but was down 6.1%; and Harrah’s won $20.2 million, down more than 17% from a year earlier.
Borgata, October's leader
For its part, Caesars won $17.5 million from in-person gamblers, also down more than 17%; Tropicana won $17.3 million, down 18.3%; Resorts won $12.9 million, down 11.6%; Golden Nugget won just over $12 million, down 15.8%, and Bally’s won $10.8 million, down 13.4%.
The Casino Association of New Jersey, which is the trade group for the Atlantic City casinos, noted that only three casinos — Hard Rock, Borgata and Ocean — have won more from in-person gamblers over the first 10 months of this year than they did over the first 10 months of 2019.
When internet gambling and sports betting revenue are added, Borgata won nearly $113 million in October, up 4% from a year ago; Golden Nugget won $50.3 million, up 3%; Hard Rock won $44.1 million, down half a percent; and Ocean won $31.5 million, down 2%.
Internet gambling brought in $147.1 million in October, up nearly 16% from a year earlier. Among internet-only operators, Resorts Digital won $56.5 million, up 25%, and Caesars Interactive NJ won nearly $9.2 million, up 2.6%
For its part, sports betting broke the $1 billion handle mark for the seventh time. Of that amount, nearly $78 million was kept as revenue by casinos and racetracks after paying off winning bets and other expenses. Year-to-date handle amounts to $8.7 billion.