Atlantic City is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, as its gambling economy is recovering from a horrific years-long collapse that saw five casinos close in the span of two years. But the revenue graph isn’t always pointing upward, illustrated by February’s numbers released last week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which saw total gaming revenue (or win) decrease 6.5 percent compared to the same month last year.
The seven Atlantic City casinos brought in $170.1 million in revenue in February 2018, and 8.9 percent decrease from the $186.6 million generated last February. It was actually the internet gambling revenue that made the overall loss a bit softer. Online gaming win was $22.0 million last month, a 17.5 percent jump from the $18.7 million in February 2017.
This is the second straight month where Atlantic City’s casino revenue has been down; January’s win dipped from $204.6 million to $184.3 million.
There are always any number of reasons these things can happen, but it seems that weather has been a primary factor in the slump. New Jersey has experienced harsh winter weather, including a January blizzard, which would naturally serve to depress tourism. People are not going to want to drive to Atlantic City when it would require snow chains.
DGE bureau chief of financial investigations Christopher Glaum told the Press of Atlantic City, “With difficult weather conditions persisting into March, it is hard to gauge the market, but we are hopeful that the industry will ultimately experience revenue growth in 2018.”
And that’s a good point. Weather has continued to be a problem up there even as we head into spring, so even though the numbers say that casinos have brought in less revenue than last year, it will be hard to tell if things are really going poorly or if, in fact, the overall Atlantic City market is healthy and simply dinged by weather.
Jim Plousis, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission, said, “Let’s face it, February was a weak month. I am hopeful that casinos can turn this around and start expanding the market as we move into the busier spring and summer seasons.”
Online gambling, on the other hand, can actually be helped by bad weather, as people will tend to stay inside.
Golden Nugget and Resorts Digital (PokerStars) led the way in February. Golden Nugget saw a ridiculous 52.4 percent increase in its internet gaming win, from $5.18 million in February 2017 to $7.89 million in February 2018. Resorts Digital increased 23.7 percent, from $3.05 million to $3.78 million.
Just one casino had its internet gaming win decrease from last year: Caesars Interactive (888). Last year’s February revenue was $3.5 million, whereas this year it was $3.19 million, a drop of 8.7 percent.
Year-to-date, Golden Nugget and Resorts Digital are also the biggest winners, while Caesars is the biggest loser.