The Atlantic City casino market registered clear growth in September, so year-on-year gains were good, although most of the established venues saw declines in the double digits when it came to actual brick-and-mortar gaming profits.
All 9 of the casinos in Atlantic City claimed brick-and-mortar gambling revenue (slightly less than $232) up slightly on September last year (7.7%), but it was a concerning drop on the August win amount of $270m.
The market claimed gains in both table games ($65.2m, +5.5%) and slots ($166.8m, +8.6%) in September. To date, for the year, the overall market is up 2% to $1.89b, with slots at the forefront at $1.36b (+3.3%), and tables down to $528.5m, a drop of 1.3%.
Overall, takings were up 15.5% to a whopping $272.2m, due to $25.7m from online gambling revenue and sports betting bringing in $14.5%. (Some of the sports betting numbers will change slightly due to winnings as yet uncollected and some unresolved wagers.)
In spite of these promising numbers, six out of seven of the casinos that last year were in operation, actually reported worrying year-on-year declines in the month of September, the Tropicana being the only one to show a gain, though not a big one. Its revenue crept up half a per cent to $29.9m.
The top earner, as always, was the Borgata, with an impressive $60.5m for the month of September, although it actually reflects a fall of 13.5% from September of 2017. Second place Harrah’s showed a drop of 13.7% to $27m, and Caesars was down the most, plummeting 23.2% to a mere $22.9m.
Things weren’t much more promising at the other end of the scale, with similar dips. The Golden Nugget dropped 3.2% ($18.3m), Bally’s dropped 6.5% ($16.6m) and Resorts dropped 11.2% ($15.8m).
Atlantic City’s two new properties, the Hard Rock Atlantic City made $25.9m, following 2 previous months of decline since its opening in late-June, still made it to third place on September’s chart. The Ocean Resort Casino generated $14.9%, almost $5m less than their August figures, its lowest ever since its own launch, also in late-June. This put it last on the September chart.
Can the market sustain this many casinos in Atlantic City, as was speculated widely before the two new venues opened their doors? Will the new venues take business from the seven regulars?
Or is it simply a matter of gamblers being too distracted by the new offerings, sports betting and online gambling, to leave the comfort of their homes?
The numbers are in for September, but does this indicate a trend? Or is it too soon to tell?