There are currently 7 casinos operating in Atlantic City. In its heyday, this East Coast gambling enclave featured 12 luxury casinos, but the inevitable downturn began in 2014 when gamblers went looking elsewhere for their kicks. The opening of casinos in neighboring states like Maryland, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania did little to bolster the profitability of NJ casinos. In November 2017, it was reported that Hard Rock Atlantic City will be opening in the summer of 2018.

If industry aficionados’ expectations are correct, the hotel and casino will be open for the Memorial Day weekend beginning on May 28, 2018. Hard Rock is owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe, which purchased the Trump Taj Mahal for $50 million from billionaire investor Carl Icahn. The Seminole tribe will be spending $500 million on the transformation.

The renovations and demolition of the Trump Taj Mahal are continuing in earnest as the Hard Rock Atlantic City casino rises from the ashes. Were it not for online gambling activity in Atlantic City, NJ, the 7 land-based casinos performed poorly in October. The total gambling win amounted to $185.8 million, down 0.3%. With the exclusion of the now shuttered Taj Mahal, the gambling industry’s overall gains amounted to to 2.1%.

For the year to date through October 31, 2017, iGaming (online poker and online casino) generated $204.2 million. At the same time in 2016, the iGaming industry had generated $196.7 million. These strong gains are evident across the board in online gaming. Both November and December are expected to yield revenue streams in the region of $20 million + for the online gaming industry, bringing the total annual GGR to $244 million +.

Which Atlantic City Casinos Have Generated the Highest Revenues?

The Marina District Casino, The Borgata was in pole position with $55.2 million for the year to date through October 31, 2017. However, that is 9% lower than the year on year figures when the Borgata generated $60.5 million in 2016. Of all the Atlantic City casinos reporting on earnings, the Borgata was the only one to report declines. In percentage terms, Caesars Atlantic City revenues spiked to $25.7 million, up 9.5%.

The big news however remains the upcoming debut of Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018. Many industry experts claim that the shuttering of 5 casinos between 2014 and 2017 was necessary to right size the gambling industry in the state. Compared to Atlantic City’s heyday in 2006 when it generated $5.2 billion in revenue, 2017 revenues are a far cry away at approximately $2.4 billion.

Below are the past 5 years of revenues in Atlantic City, New Jersey:

  1. 2012 – $3,051,436,000
  2. 2013 – $2,870,438,000
  3. 2014 – $2,742,128,000
  4. 2015 – $2,563,118,000
  5. 2016 – $2,602,721,000

It is notable that the turnaround began between 2015 and 2016 when NJ online casinos and online poker rooms gained traction in the Garden State. In 2013, the total Internet win in New Jersey was $8,369,000. By 2014 it jumped to $122,877,000. In 2015, the total Internet win in NJ was $148,880,000, and $196,709,000 in 2016. In total, Internet win has contributed over $618 million to overall winnings in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 2017, the following monthly gambling revenue figures have been posted:

  • January – total gaming win of $185,862,583
  • February – total gaming win of $186,642,365
  • March – total gaming win of $200,113,458
  • April – total gaming win of $190,866,614
  • May – total gaming win of $208,327,637
  • June – total gaming win of $197,488,784
  • July – total gaming win of $247,267,142
  • August – total gaming win of $223,558,135
  • September – total gaming win of $215,411,499
  • October – total gaming win of $185,818,456

Projections for the Atlantic City gambling industry are approximately $190 million – $200 million each, for the months of November and December. If these figures hold true, that should push the total gambling revenue for 2017 to $2.441 billion for the year. In terms of the breakdown of table games, other games, poker games, and slot machine games in Atlantic City for the year, the following numbers were reported (through October 31, 2017):

  • Table Games and Other Games – $584,023,469
  • Poker Games – $20,526,012
  • Slot Machine Games – $1,455,376,195

Slot machines comprise 71.29% of overall gambling take in Atlantic City.

What Is the Vision of the Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City?

Construction on the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino of Atlantic City will begin once the Trump Taj Mahal has been destroyed. The demolition and renovation are expected to cost upwards of $500 million. Presently, there are some 2,000+ hotel rooms in the hotel, and a new concert arena, as well as a restaurant, will be constructed.

The Hard Rock Casino will add an additional 130 casino table games to Atlantic City, as well as 2,400 slot machine games. It also marks the first time in over 5 years that a land-based casino has opened in New Jersey’s iconic Atlantic City. The new resort will boost travel and tourism to the coastal town – the East Coast’s equivalent of the iconic Las Vegas strip.

DGE Reaffirms Strong Growth in AC, New Jersey

Multiple changes are being made in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Outgoing Gov. Chris Christie will be replaced by Democrat Phil Murphy in January 2018. The new mayor of Atlantic City is also a Democrat, Frank Gilliam, and he replaced Mayor Don Guardian on November 2017. The new governor of the state hopes to expand casino operations in New Jersey by building additional venues in the north of the state as plans for casino expansion in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut take root.

The rebirth of Atlantic City is well underway. 2017 has been marked by a stunning turnaround, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that there was a 20.7% increase in operating profit from July-September, year on year. In that same period, GGR at the existing 7 casinos was reported a $252 million. The higher the gross gambling revenue, the better the performance of the gambling industry.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement indicated that revenues were divided up into 3 categories: casinos reporting losses, casinos reporting moderate gains, and casinos reporting significant gains. Leading from the front was the Tropicana, with Q3 gross revenue of $46.2 million. This was followed by the Golden Nugget Atlantic City with 15.4% growth, Caesars Casino at 10.9%, Bally’s casino at 10.7%, and the other 2 casinos with 10% plus in increases.

While Harrah’s showed an increase of 0.9%, Resorts Casino was up just 0.3%. Overall, the gross operating profit for the year to date was up 19.8% over 2016 figures. All of this bodes well for the steady progress of the gambling industry, particularly the online casino and online poker industry that is fuelling the turnaround in Atlantic City, New Jersey. All eyes will be on what transpires with sports betting in the Garden State, since this has the potential to generate billions of dollars in additional revenues.

About the Author
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With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.