Atlantic City casinos, sportsbooks, and iGaming platforms won a combined $484.8 million off of gamblers last month, a nearly 7% improvement on September 2021. But there’s much more to the industry story than the overall gross gaming revenue (GGR) number.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk looking north toward Resorts, Hard Rock, and Ocean casinos. The city’s nine casinos won $251.7 million in September 2022 to keep their pandemic recovery ongoing. (Image: Getty)
Brick-and-mortar GGR in September followed the 2022 trend in outpacing 2021. The casinos won $251.7 million on their physical floors last month from slot machines and table games — 1.3% better year over year.
Through three quarters, brick-and-mortar casino gambling is higher this year than last by 12.5%. And even when compared with pre-pandemic 2019 January through September, the casinos this year have won 1.3% more retail gaming dollars.
Despite the higher revenue, Atlantic City’s nine casinos continue to stress that their financial standing remains on shaky ground post-pandemic.
The local gaming industry last year convinced state lawmakers to pass a controversial and still legally disputed property tax savings bill. So, why is the State of New Jersey pleading with state courts to allow the casino property tax savings bill to be implemented if business is so strong in Atlantic City?
Two Casinos Account for Growth
Total brick-and-mortar casino revenue has increased this year in Atlantic City, but the 1.3% growth from 2019 is primarily from Hard Rock and Ocean Casino. The other seven casinos are trailing their 2019 land-based revenue.
Paired with inflation and greatly increasing overhead, the industry maintains that, without property tax savings, some casinos could be at risk of closing. The property tax bill is an amendment to how the state calculates the casinos’ property tax bill by way of the payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) program that the state and casinos reached in 2016.
The state agreed to remove iGaming and online sportsbook revenue from the calculation to determine the property tax responsibility. The change would save the nine casinos $55 million this year, and between $30 million to $65 million annually through the 2026 scheduled expiration of the PILOT scheme.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City officials continue to celebrate the industry’s performance.
Atlantic City’s results continue to impress,” commented James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “In September, casino win edged last year’s figure by $3 million, and it was higher than every September going back to 2012.”
January through September 2022 casino GGR totaled more than $2.13 billion. Plousis said it’s only the second time in the previous eight years that the nine casinos have eclipsed the $2 billion mark during the month of September.
Borgata is the dominant player in Atlantic City. The MGM Resorts property has won $546.5 million on its floor this year, far ahead of second-place Hard Rock’s $380.5 million. Ocean is a distant third at $268 million.
Though Atlantic City casinos continue to express worry, the state gaming industry will once again record a new all-time high in total GGR.
Through nine months, total gaming revenue from casinos, iGaming, and sports betting topped $3.8 billion, which easily surpasses 2019’s year-end figure of $3.3 billion.
Slots accounted for more than $1.5 billion, and table games for $567.8 million. iGaming, including online poker, generated GGR of $1.2 billion while sportsbooks accounted for about $517 million.
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