Atlantic City casino brick-and-mortar gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled $214.5 million in June 2021. That’s a loss of nine percent, or $21.5 million, compared with June 2019.
The headlines are reading as if the gaming market in New Jersey’s casino town is better than ever. The Associated Press title reads, “Atlantic City Casino Win $345 million in June, New Monthly Record.”
That record is largely due to iGaming and sports betting — two gaming verticals that are far less profitable than land-based operations.
But, the AP headline is nonetheless correct. Total GGR from land-based gaming, iGaming slots, table games, and poker rake, and sports betting online and at casinos and horse racetracks, totaled $345 million in June. It’s the all-time highest GGR number for any June in the history of New Jersey’s gaming industry, which dates back to 1978.
Breaking Down Numbers
Atlantic City’s nine casinos won $154.1 million from slots and $60.4 million on their table games last month. In 2019, those same nine brick-and-mortar venues reported $168.3 million in slot GGR, and $67.7 million from tables.
The surge in June 2021 gaming revenue is a result of ongoing increases in online play. Internet casinos won more than $107 million from gamblers last month. In 2019 — just $38 million.
Sports betting has also drastically expanded over the past two years. Sportsbook GGR last month was nearly $71.3 million. In 2019 — just $9.7 million.
Total June 2019 GGR from all verticals was $283.7 million. While more than $61 million was won by gaming operators in June 2021, that doesn’t necessarily mean things are alive and well in Atlantic City.
The physical casinos share their iGaming and sports betting revenues with their third-party operators. It’s a fact that Hard Rock Atlantic City President Joe Lupo says isn’t being reported accurately.
Atlantic City truly hasn’t seen big increases in land-based revenue for quite some time. It’s all bout online and sports betting,” Lupo told WOND radio in January.
“We need more transparency in how the third-party online companies are doing,” the Hard Rock exec added. “We need help with these [Atlantic City] properties. We need to see the city revitalized, and that’s not going to happen when the media is reporting increases when they add in online revenue and that revenue is going to third-party companies that don’t have any stake in the [Atlantic City] game.”
Others See Differently
Lupo might have a point, but others say $60 million in additional revenue is more than enough to make up for some of the land-based losses. And it’s worth pointing out that profits for Atlantic City casinos totaled $95.1 million in the first quarter of 2021. Eight of the nine casinos turned a profit, Bally’s being the exception.
“Atlantic City’s total gaming revenue grew 24 percent compared to pre-pandemic June 2019,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission James Plousis said in a statement to Casino.org. “For three consecutive months, its growth has exceeded 20 percent compared with the strong results of 2019.
“I’ve seen first-hand that visitation to Atlantic City is on the rise, tourists are happy to be coming back, and the summer is off to a positive start,” Plousis concluded.