A.C. skyline

ATLANTIC CITY — Casino gaming revenue increased by more than 22% in May, marking the 12th consecutive month of growth for the market.

The city’s nine casinos reported $266.76 million in total gaming revenue last month, which is a 22.5% increase over May 2018, according to figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“The market’s momentum is pointing toward a great summer,” said Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis. “With the most attractions and entertainment options in recent memory, Atlantic City is providing more reasons to visit for anyone seeking top gaming, leisure and recreation.”

Gaming revenue from Atlantic City casinos has increased month over month since the June 2018 openings of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort and the launch of legalized sports betting in New Jersey.

“Atlantic City continues to display strength and resilience with significant gains in gaming revenue,” said Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University.

Pandit also noted that visitation to Atlantic City increased last month, according to traffic data from the South Jersey Transportation Authority. Vehicle trips at the Pleasantville Toll Plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway increased 4.6% in May compared to the same month last year, and year-to-date figures show a 6.3% increase.

The growth in visitation will “impact nongaming revenues as well” throughout the resort, Pandit said.

Casino win — combined revenue from table and slots — was up 15.3% in May over May 2018 with nearly $222.9 million reported. Of the seven casino properties that were open in May 2018, only Resorts Casino Hotel (4.2%) and Caesars Atlantic City (3%) reported increases in brick-and-mortar casino win. The two new properties accounted for $44.9 million of casino win.

Internet gaming continued to rise in May as well. More than $38.3 million in revenue was generated from online casino gaming last month, which represents a 57.8% increase over last year. The revenue was just shy of March’s record $39.1 million.

Online gaming revenue through the first five months of 2019 has grown 34.9%, to $179.4 million, compared with $116.9 million generated during the first five months of 2018.

Steve Ruddock, lead online gambling analyst for PlayNJ.com, said New Jersey’s online gaming market was among the winners of a federal court decision to vacate a recent Department of Justice opinion on the Interstate Wire Act, which could have had dire implications for the industry in the Garden State.

“The federal ruling that the Wire Act does not apply to legal online gambling was a huge win for New Jersey,” Ruddock said. “The ruling ensures that strong growth should continue for the industry, which has already received a significant boost by the launch of legal online sports betting.”

Sports bettors wagered more than $318.9 million in May, putting New Jersey within striking distance of supplanting Nevada as the country’s largest sports betting market. In the 12 months since sports betting was legalized, the Garden State has wagered more than $3 billion and generated nearly $195 million in revenue.

Through the first five months of 2019, more than $1.7 billion has been wagered on sports, according to the DGE.

“We knew that sports betting in New Jersey would be successful, but it is fair to say that so far it has exceeded our expectations,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Three billion dollars in bets in 12 months is an impressive milestone by any measure, and in just a year, New Jersey is set up to become the nation’s largest legal sports betting market.”

Online sports betting continued to outperform in-house gambling last month. Nearly 83% of the total amount wagered in May was done through an online or mobile platform.

Atlantic City casinos and their online sports betting providers generated more than $5.5 million in revenue in May. Year to date, the casino industry and its partners have generated more than $37 million from sports betting.

Through the first five months of 2019, total gaming revenue increased 21.1% compared to the same period last year. The casino industry has reported more than $1.24 billion in total gaming revenue thus far in 2019.

While revenue has continued its upward momentum, casino profits have not. First-quarter reports showed casino operating profits were $87 million, reflecting a 29.6% decrease from the first three months of 2018. Hard Rock and Ocean both reported losses in the first quarter of 2019, with the former losing more than $6 million and the latter more than $10.3 million.

Contact: 609-272-7222 ddanzis@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDanzis

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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