Atlantic City casinos saw their upward momentum come to a screeching halt last month, as gaming slowed and dropped below pre-pandemic levels.
Atlantic City casinos in April and May reported better-than-2019 gross gaming revenue (GGR) on their brick-and-mortar floors. But in June, in-person play slowed, as inflation and high gas prices kept many at home.
June gaming revenue at the nine casinos totaled $229.1 million. While that’s up nearly 7% on June 2021, the retail slot and table game win is nearly 3% lower than June 2019 when the properties won $236 million.
Table games were especially disappointing. The tables won just $58 million last month, $2.3 million less than in June 2021 and $9.6 million below June 2019.
Slot machines held strong, as the terminals won $171 million for the house. That’s an 11% year-over-year gain and 1.7% higher than June 2019.
It’s worth noting that June 2019 had 10 weekend days while June 2022 had only eight. Weekends are typically busier days for gaming in Atlantic City than weekdays.
Report Spun Positive
With GGR back below 2019 levels, and inflation greatly increasing each land-based casino’s overhead and operational costs, the June 2022 report certainly doesn’t present many positive economic indicators.
Sports betting also labored in June. Oddsmakers reported a little more than $39.2 million in revenue, a 45% year-over-year drop. Though books took in $633.2 million in bets, oddsmakers didn’t fare overly well on the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup being won by the favored Golden State Warriors and Colorado Avalanche.
iGaming was the lone bright spot in June. Internet casinos won $133.1 million from gamblers playing online slot machines, table games, and poker. The $133.1 million win was more than 24% better than June 2021 and 250% higher than June 2019.
With iGaming included, June 2022 was a strong showing in terms of overall gaming revenue.
Atlantic City’s casino win and total gaming revenue continued to improve compared to last year. Casino win was the highest in the month of June for the past nine years except for June 2019,” James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, told Casino.org.
“Double-digit growth in internet gaming win pushed total gaming revenue to its highest level for June in over a decade,” Plousis added.
Keeping Atlantic City Vibrant
Inflation’s continued upward trend, consumer prices rising more than 9% in June, is seriously darkening the outlook for the rest of the summer in Atlantic City.
Unlike Las Vegas where much of the business is fly-in traffic, Atlantic City is much more a drive-in destination. With the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at $4.65 nationwide — up $1.51 from a year ago — July and August could see GGR decline further from pre-pandemic levels when gas was less than $3 a gallon.
Casinos are investing considerably in order to update their resorts and keep the market attractive in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic and Northeast gaming regions.
Caesars is spending $400 million to renovate its three Atlantic City casinos, Bally’s is amid a $100 million overhaul, and Borgata, Ocean Casino, and Resorts are embarking on less costly updates.
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