New Jersey’s sports betting juggernaut slowed a bit in January, even as those bets and internet gambling helped the Atlantic City casinos avoid a revenue decrease for the month, according to figures released Wednesday.
The nine casinos saw 9.3% more revenue in January than they did a year earlier, but that was largely because of money won online or from sports betting.
Without that extra revenue, the casinos’ performance with in-person gamblers fell 16.7% from January 2020 totals.
The total amount of money wagered on sports in New Jersey actually declined a bit from December, failing to set a new national record for the first time in six months. The total bet on sports, known as “handle,” was $958.7 million, down from more than $996 million in December.
Including internet and sports money, the casinos won $295.7 million in January. And when the three horse racing tracks that offer sports betting are included, the figure rises to $346.4 million.
Hard Rock had a good January, up nearly 40% in all forms of gambling to $33.8 million. Its in-person casino revenue was up almost 24%.
“Hard Rock Atlantic City is very proud of our team and their performance producing a remarkable 24% increase in casino revenue in comparison to last year while the city is down collectively 17%,” said Hard Rock President Joe Lupo. “COVID-19 and operating restrictions continue to cause difficulty for everyone. However, being the only property in Atlantic City to see growth four months in a row speaks to our market-leading (safety) protocols and team effort.”
Jim Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said one big reason in-person casino revenue was down from a year earlier is that it is being compared with January 2020, when coronavirus restrictions had not yet been imposed.
“While public health remains a concern, Atlantic City has worked hard to provide a safe environment,” he said. “The casinos are well-positioned to welcome back more visitors as the situation hopefully continues to improve and the spring season approaches.”
The Ocean casino was up 31.7% to $26 million.
“January 2021 was the first full month of operation for The Cove, attracting new customers to Ocean interested in an exclusive high limit slot experience,” said Terry Glebocki, Ocean’s CEO. “With the recent curfew lifting and Ocean’s ongoing reinvestment, we’re optimistic we’ll continue to see gaming growth as 2021 progresses.”
And the Borgata was up 10.5% to $75.4 million.
A change in reporting methods by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement knocked the Golden Nugget out of one of the top revenue sports in Atlantic City, a spot it had long occupied due to strong internet gambling winnings.
But the company spun off its online gambling operations in November, and starting this month, Golden Nugget’s online division has its results listed separately. That division was up 45% from a year ago, to $31.3 million. But the in-person Golden Nugget casino and sports betting winnings were down 33.2% to $10.1 million.
Among other internet-only entities, Caesars Interactive-NJ was up 74.3% to $7.3 million, and Resorts Digital was up 38.7% to $38.5 million.
Casino declines were led by Harrah’s, down nearly 37% to $14.9 million. Bally’s was down 23.3% to $8.7 million; Resorts was down 15.3% to $10.5 million; Tropicana was down 8.7% to $22.7 million, and Caesars was down 5.5% to $16 million.