Atlantic City’s casino industry sees gross operating profit growth nearly 79% in first quarter compared to pre-pandemic 2019

The New Jersey Gaming Enforcement Division On Monday published Atlantic City Casinos Financial Results for the First Quarter of 2022showing that only four of the nine casinos individually reported higher gross operating profits that in the first quarter of 2019before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Figures released by the regulator show the casinos and their online branches collectively posted a gross operating profit of $155.6 million in the first three months of the year, up 63% compared to the first three months of 2021 and almost 79% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Eight of the nine casinos were profitable in the first quarter, with only Bally’s posting an operating loss of $6.8 million.

However, only Borgata, Hard Rock, Ocean and Tropicana were individually more profitable in the last quarter than they were at the start of 2019.

The Borgata had a gross operating profit of $45.8 million; Hard Rock saw $26.8 millionrepresenting a 213% increase in operating profits over last year, the largest increase. Tropicana tracking, raking $19.7 million; and Ocean earned $18.5 million, up 133% from 2021. Caesars saw $10.6 million, ahead of Golden Nugget, which saw $5.6 million. Resorts earned $536,000.

As reported by Associated Pressregarding these figures, Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockholm Universitywhich studies the Atlantic City gambling market, said the station showed “significant growth” during what is traditionally the slowest time for them in the first quarter of the year. She also noted that the casinos’ collective gross operating profit was the strongest performance in the first quarter of the past five years.

The hotel-casino occupancy rate in the first quarter of this year was 63%, nearly 11% higher than at the same time a year ago. Ocean had the highest average occupancy at 81.5% while Golden Nugget was the lowest at 41.6%. Ocean had the highest average rate at $209, while resorts had the lowest at $106.

Going into the second and third quarters of the year, which are high seasons for csinos, Bokunewicz predicted that increasing hotel-casino occupancy should boost non-gaming revenuebut also to increase the demand for casino workers: “The ability of operators to meet this demand, given the supply of labor, rising wages and product costs, will determine whether the recent EBITDA performance will persist”.

She also pointed out that the comparison with the first quarter of 2019 is not ideall, as it started with Hard Rock and Ocean open for just six months, with both casinos posting operating losses as they expanded their businesses and tried to gain market share. Some casinos have also separated their internet operations from in-person operations since then.

Among internet-only entities, Caesars Interactive Entertainment NJ earned $7.8 million in the first quarter; Golden Nugget Online Gaming earned $6.7 million; and Resorts Digital grossed $4.1 million.