ATLANTIC CITY — The opening of two new casino properties, the introduction of legalized sports betting and the continuous growth of internet wagering all contributed to a total gaming revenue increase of nearly 8 percent in 2018 compared to the prior year, according to figures released Monday by state regulators.
The resort’s nine casino properties reported $2.86 billion in revenue in 2018, a 7.5 percent increase over 2017.
Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis noted 2018 was the third consecutive year of revenue growth for the Atlantic City casino industry.
“While the city had a good year, market adjustments from competition occurred and will continue into 2019,” said Plousis. “The continuing strength of internet gaming plus a growing sports wagering market will provide the industry with tools to compete.”
In December, the industry generated $247.4 million in revenue, based on earnings reported to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, a nearly 20 percent increase over the same month in 2017 when only seven Atlantic City casino properties were operational and total gaming revenue was $207 million.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino both opened to the public on June 27, reopening shuttered Boardwalk properties. Hard Rock opened at the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which closed in 2016, while Ocean is the second incarnation of the former Revel Casino Hotel, a $2.4 billion megaresort that shut its doors in 2014 after just two years. The two properties accounted for more than $267.9 million in total gaming revenue in just over six full months of operation.
Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, said December’s “growth continues a positive trend” for Atlantic City’s casinos.
“Atlantic City continues to show positive growth in gaming revenues year over year as it asserts its position as the premier destination resort on the east coast,” said Pandit.
In December 2018, casino win increased 12.3 percent to $209 million compared with the same month in 2017. Table and slot game revenues increased 4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, but only one of the existing seven properties — Golden Nugget Atlantic City — reported a year-over-year increase (0.8 percent).
Internet gaming revenue increased 21.6 percent and netted operators $298.7 million last year. For December 2018, internet gaming revenue generated $29 million, an increase of nearly 40 percent over the same month in 2017. Since its launch in 2013, internet gaming in New Jersey has generated more than $1 billion in revenue.
“Online gambling’s growth has been perpetual since launch, and 2019 offers few reasons that it will slow down,” said Steve Ruddock, lead online gambling analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Online gambling could generate more than $350 million in 2019, and the taxes from that revenue will continue to be a boon to the state budget.”
Sports betting, which went into effect in June throughout the Garden State, accounted for $9.3 million in revenue in December for Atlantic City’s casino properties. Including the state’s two licensed racetracks, sports betting revenue for December was reported to be $20.8 million.
Since June, more than $1.24 billion has been wagered on sports either at a casino, a racetrack or through an online/mobile betting platform. In December alone, more than $319 million was bet on sports in New Jersey.
“New Jersey’s strong month actually bucks a trend seen in Nevada, where sports betting typically cools a bit in December,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Growth in a typically slower month crystallizes the strength of New Jersey’s growing sports betting market. The popularity of online sports betting is a chief reason, making it easier for gamblers to place bets, even as the time demands of the holiday season are in full bloom.”