ATLANTIC CITY — A blizzard last month contributed to theresort’s seven casinos seeing gaming revenue fall almost 10 percent, according to state gambling figures released Wednesday.
The city’s total gambling revenue of more than $184.3 million in January compared with about $204.6 million in January 2017, according to the data.
A Jan. 4 storm dropped more than 1 foot of snow on the region, leaving many would-be gamblers unable to get to the resort, so the revenue drop came as no surprise to Jim Plousis, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission.
“What a difference a blizzard makes,” Plousis said. “When people are stuck in their homes by more than a foot of snow, and temperatures are dipping into single digits, they don’t come to Atlantic City.”
Officials are confident 2018 still will be a good year for casino revenues.
This summer, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Resort Club, formerly Revel Casino-Hotel, are expected to open.
“While the casino industry encountered a difficult start to 2018, the Division of Gaming Enforcement does not believe that the results reported in January will be indicative of the performance of the industry for 2018, especially considering the announced openings of two casino properties later this year,” said Christopher Glaum, bureau chief of financial investigations for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Anthony Marino, an independent transportation analyst, said February’s above-average temperatures will turn around revenues.
“So far, February 2018, unlike January, has been relatively mild, and it looks like the upcoming Presidents Day Weekend will continue this trend,” Marino said. “If so, and barring a major snow event later this month, February’s win statistics may reverse last month’s negative numbers.”
Internet gambling grew 16.7 percent last month. Its revenues totaled about $21.9 million in January, with Golden Nugget Atlantic City accounting for about $7.3 million in revenue.
“To put the Golden Nugget’s success into perspective, no other New Jersey online casino licensee has even eclipsed the $5 million threshold,” said Steve Ruddock, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, an internet gambling advocacy group. “The Golden Nugget’s pace-setting is the result of solid management, a strong platform and its willingness to innovate, such as the launch of live-dealer games. It has created a recipe that has made the Golden Nugget the clear market leader.”