With casinos shut down, Atlantic City gaming revenues plummet
For the first time since June 2018, monthly gambling revenue fell for Atlantic City's casinos — and no one is surprised.
Compared to the same month last year, gaming revenue for Atlantic City's casinos experienced a decrease of 44% in March 2020, the month in which operations at the nine gaming halls were ordered to a grinding halt to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
According to figures released Wednesday afternoon by the Division of Gaming Enforcement, in-person casino winnings in Atlantic City totaled $85.5 million last month. Winnings totaled more than $223 million in the same month last year.
But the numbers suggest more individuals, while essentially forced to stay in their homes during the public health crisis, flocked to their laptops and other electronic devices to gamble virtually. Internet gaming revenue jumped by 65.6% from March 2019 to March 2020.
"This is a huge opportunity for the online gaming industry, not only in New Jersey — which I believe is the mecca for online gaming in America — but also to show governors and legislators across the country that you're a fool to not embrace this," said Bill Pascrell III with Princeton Public Affairs Group, representing the online and brick-and-mortar casino industry.
Golden Nugget continued its trend as the biggest moneymaker online, raking in more than $23 million in March alone.
"Not only are you getting new online gamblers into your arsenal ... but what you're also doing is you're allowing the brick-and-mortar casino industry to have reach to those online gamblers," Pascrell said.
Only Bally's and Harrah's do not have internet gaming tied to their casinos, according to the DGE figures.
With mainstream sports shut down for much of the month, including NCAA basketball tournaments, sports betting revenue fell by nearly 60% in the Garden State.
Monthly gaming revenue gains had been reported out of Atlantic City since June 2018, the month in which Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino resort took over two shuttered properties. February 2020 figures recorded a 19% jump in total gaming revenue compared to a year prior.
On March 16, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the signing of an executive order that forced the closure of all casinos and other entertainment businesses for the time being.