Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY — The city’s casinos saw a 22.5 percent jump in gross operating profits in 2017 and a 5 percent increase in net gaming revenue over the previous year, according to state gaming numbers released Monday.

Nearly all of the city’s seven operating casinos made significant gains in 2017, according to data from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, reporting nearly $133 million more in gross operating profit than in 2016, when there were eight casinos open in the city. Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort closed in October 2016.

Overall casino net revenue, including online gaming, increased to more than $2.67 billion for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, compared with $2.5 billion among current operators for the same period in 2016.

Internet gaming accounted for more than $25 million in operating profits in 2017.

“Three casino hotels reported record net revenue and gross operating profit under current ownership, and both internet casino licensees had their best year as well,” said Christopher Glaum, deputy chief of financial investigations for the DGE. “Industry-wide, strong growth in net revenue led to gross operating profit growth in excess of 20 percent for the year. These operating results bode well for the industry expansion expected to occur in mid-2018.”

The city’s casino hotels also saw an increase in occupancy rates and average room rates last year compared to 2016. The 12-month occupancy rate increased from 85.2 percent in 2016 to 86.9 percent in 2017. The average room rate last year was $108.35, while the year before it was $106.71.

James Plousis, chairman of the Casino Control Commission, noted that all of the positive numbers demonstrated the improving health of the casino industry.

“The industry is on the verge of a significant expansion this summer which will create a new array of attractions and attract a lot of additional visitors to the city,” Plousis said Monday, referring to the anticipated opening of both Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. “That expansion may put pressure on the current operators, but I think the industry is well positioned to deal with the new competition.”

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa once again led the way, reporting more than $290 million in profits last year, up 19.5 percent.

Tropicana Atlantic City saw the largest percentage increase in both profit and net revenue in 2017 compared to 2016. The casino reported nearly $92 million in profit in 2017, while in 2016 the figure was just shy of $54 million, an increase of 71 percent. Trop’s net revenue increased 12.1 percent to $386 million in 2017.

Harrah’s Resort, while reporting the only profit decrease last year, still took in more than $115 million. The year prior, it reported an operating profit of more than $119 million.

Resorts Casino Hotel — which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year — experienced a 23.6 percent increase in operating profit in 2017. The city’s first casino took in $23.165 million in profits last year, compared with $18.7 million in 2016.

The fourth quarter of 2017 also saw significant gains over the same period in 2016. Net revenue was up 2.9 percent last year compared to the prior year, while operating profits increased $43 million, or 36.5 percent, to $161.5 million in the final quarter.

Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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