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Atlantic City Casino Industry Profits Up 20 Percent Through First Half Of 2016

Total Revenue Remains Flat Year-Over-Year

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The first half of this year was a good stretch for the Atlantic City casino-resort industry.

Garden State gaming regulators said Tuesday that the casino licensees’ gross operating profit increased 19.1 percent to $308.6 million through the end of June. Only Bally’s and Harrah’s saw their profits decline year-over-year, with 5.8 percent and 13.1 percent dips, respectively. Harrah’s revenue fell, while Bally’s saw revenue stay flat. Those casinos presumably would be most vulnerable if there was another downturn.

Regulators also said that the financial reports filed with the Division of Gaming Enforcement showed that total revenue increased 0.6 percent to $1.69 billion for the aforementioned period.

However, if you dig a little deeper it you can truly understand how important real-money online casino gaming has been for the city, which is still treading water after a rush of brick-and-mortar closings just a few years ago.

Revenue from hotel rooms and food/beverage sales were both down about five percent year-over-year. The “entertainment and other” category, which includes concert and show admissions, casino-owned spa revenue, casino-owned retail sales, rental income and other miscellaneous revenue sources, was flat compared to the first six months of 2016. The money won from gamblers was $1.23 billion, up 2.4 percent year-over-year.

It’s worth noting that third party sales were also down nearly four percent.

The city’s online gaming industry won more than $120 million through June, up 28 percent compared to the prior period ($26.6 million more). If online gaming revenue was taken out of the picture, gaming win would have fallen for the first half of year, in turn dropping total industry revenue. Online gaming in Atlantic City has been a big success.

The online casino games market could see continued growth thanks to MGM Resorts International throwing its brand name into the mix.

There is, of course, a likely bigger opportunity sitting on the horizon.

Later this year the U.S. Supreme Court will hear New Jersey’s arguments for overturning a 1992 federal law that banned sports books in states outside of Nevada and a few others. Americans bet an estimated $150 billion on sports each year, according to the American Gaming Association.

In October, the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors, leaving Atlantic City with just seven casinos. The good news is that the property will be re-branded and is slated to reopen next year.