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New Jersey Casinos Win $3.29 Billion In 2019

First Time Since 2012 That Garden State Casinos Generated More Than $3 Billion In Revenue

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New Jersey gambling operators won more than $3.4 billion in 2019, according to statistics released Tuesday morning by the state’s Department of Gaming Enforcement.

The state’s nine casinos and two standalone sportsbooks at racetracks generated $287.3 million in December, good for a whopping 11 percent increase from December 2018. The numbers from the final month of the year pushed New Jersey’s gross gaming revenue to $3.469 billion for 2019.

When subtracting the sportsbooks at the two New Jersey racetracks, the nine casinos still generated $3.29 billion in gross revenue. It extended New Jersey’s streak of monthly casino revenue growth to 19 months, coming on the heels of a November where casinos earned $306 million.

According to ESPN Chalk, it was the first time since 2012 that Atlantic City casinos won more than $3 billion in a year. The casino win was a 15 percent increase from 2018.

The increased revenue stems from a full year of legal sports betting and online gambling in the Garden State, as well as the revenue gained from a full year of action at the Hard Rock Atlantic City, formerly the Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Casino Resort, formerly Revel.

Hard Rock netted slightly more than $350 million in 2019, while Ocean Resort Casino pulled in another $238 million.

While revenue is booming, there are some concerning statistics for New Jersey’s market. More than half of the casinos in Atlantic City saw revenue decreases in 2019. Tropicana, Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s and Resorts Casino all saw their bottom line fall slightly. Tropicana’s 8.2 percent fall was the biggest of the bunch.

Earlier in the year, Golden Nugget Atlantic City owner Tilman Fertitta said that he foresaw contraction in the market and that Atlantic City can’t support nine casinos.

David Schwartz, a gambling historian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told ESPN that he doesn’t believe casino owners should worry about declining profits at this stage of the market cycle.

“The revenue increase is a positive,” said Schwartz. “Right now the industry should be in ‘grow the market’ mode rather than seeking to consolidate profits, so a decrease in profits isn’t necessarily the worst news we could get. Overall, what Atlantic City needs right now is to improve its image and marketing and become a destination in a crowded Northeast casino market.”

With Pennsylvania launching full-scale online gambling in 2019, including poker and sports betting, it will be interesting to see if gaming revenue takes a hit in 2020 since Pennsylvanians on the border of New Jersey no longer need to cross it to place a bet.