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Atlantic City Casino Profits Fell 10% in the First Quarter of 2024

The overall profit recorded by casinos in New Jersey’s Atlantic City fell by nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2024. Figures published by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s gambling regulator, showed the decline, revealing that only two of the nine casinos in Atlantic City were more profitable than they were the year before. 

While Hard Rock recorded an 18.3% increase in gross operating profit to $26.2 million, Ocean hit $24 million, rising 1.2%. Specific details revealed the nine casinos made $140.4 million in Q1 2024, representing a 9.6% fall from the first quarter in 2023.

Official figures also show a reduction when exclusively considering online casinos. These internet-only establishments hit $155.4 million in the same period, an 8.7% reduction from last year. Known for its vibrant gambling sector, New Jersey has welcomed millions of gamblers over time, later with a broader range of patrons since the state officially greenlit online gambling in 2013. With the proliferation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, a crypto casino could become an attractive option in the state to win over gamblers in the crypto community and also expand casino offerings to include Provably Fair games. 

A few stakeholders have offered reasons for the decline in profits. For instance, the chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, James Plousis, said one problem with Atlantic City’s gambling scene is the use of labor contracts that allow casino workers to earn high wages. Unfortunately, combining this expense with the increased cost of needed goods has put a dent in profitability.

Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which analyzes the gambling scene in Atlantic City, also offers insights. According to director Jane Bokunewicz, factors causing the reduced profits include inflation and a general rise in operational costs. Bokunewicz also notes that establishments have now begun to mix operations with traditionally narrow profit margins, including food, beverage, and lodging, for a better chance at profit.  

The above factors had debilitating effects on operations, with Resorts Atlantic City losing $1.2 million, a 322% plunge from its $284,000 loss a year ago. Bally’s lost even more, recording $2.5 million compared to $88,000 in profits from last year. 

Five casinos reported operating profits, although lower than last year. Caesars fell 7% to $10.5 million, while Borgata recorded $51.7 million, a 10.1% reduction. Harrah’s and Tropicana plunged 12.3% and 25.4%, respectively, ending the quarter with $16.9 million and $12.5 million in operating profits. The largest loss was the 51.7% Golden Nugget recorded, cresting at $2.3 million. 

Fortunately, state regulators noted that all casinos, sports-betting horse tracks, and their online partners saw their total revenue hit $511 million in April, rising 10.4%. However, the success mostly came from online gambling, with New Jersey recording its second-best month ever. Unfortunately, revenue from in-person gamblers fell, dropping 6.3% from last year. For in-person revenue, Borgata recorded $58.3 million, easily the highest in the state. Combining sports betting revenue and online eagers, Borgata’s total revenue hit $107.7 million. Although still the highest, the figure was lower by 0.2%.

Bokunewicz believes that in-person casino revenue is likely to increase as visitation and patronage increase in the coming summer months. However, she believes that most revenue would come from non-gambling offerings like food and beverages. The director describes this as “a focus beyond gaming, to the elements that make Atlantic City unique.”

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