Last month was a good one in Atlantic City as casinos reported solid earnings via slots, table games and sportsbooks. As with every month over the past few years, the region continues to make gains. However, the recent coronavirus outbreak has changed all that. Now, the gaming venues are shutting down and players are left with no entertainment due to social distancing requirements. For operators, February will be their last earning month for who knows how long.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed the monthly revenue numbers last week, amidst the NBA announcing their season suspension along with the National Hockey League and Major League Social making similar announcements.
For the state, slots and table games brought in $218.3 million, which is an 11% increase. Online casino gaming generated $52 million while sports betting added to the total at $17 million. Online poker of course did not earn much, being at close to $2 million.
Breaking down the individual venues, it was the Ocean Casino that saw the largest increase, at $20.8 million. This was a 51% rise for the operator. While they didn’t finish at the top of the pack, they still managed a 6th place finish and the highest increase in earnings. Slot gaming totals were up by around 88%.
For the Borgata, the casino saw a jump of almost 14% with $57.6 million in earnings. Resorts earned $14.5 million and Bally’s generated $12, putting them at the bottom of the list. For the Golden Nugget, they are still the operator to beat when it comes to online gaming, generating $20 million out of the $52 million total.
What Will This Month Bring?
Due to the coronavirus outbreak in the US, casinos in Atlantic City decided to shutdown alongside fellow states Connecticut and New York. The venues closed beginning at 8pm on Monday and will not reopen for some time.
The casinos will have about a half a month to consider when the March revenue reports come in. Of course the percentages will be much lower and earnings will not be like they have been before. It will be in the coming months that we see just how the industry is affected.
In New Jersey, operators have a positive as they offer online gambling, both casino and poker options. This sector could help cushion the blow that the land-based casinos will see, especially if new players start to sign up.
The industry already has regular gamblers but as self-quarantining and social distancing takes place more often than not, consumers will want something to do. Online gambling might be their go-to activity. Players can play from mobile or desktop devices, making access simple from anywhere in the state.
There is worry that the temporary closures could lead to full-blown closure in the future, depending on losses. Right now, the time frame for closure seems to be about two weeks. However, this could change. And even if the casinos open back up, are players going to go? Will they risk potentially catching the coronavirus just to go play the slots or blackjack?
Casinos across the United States are seeking assistance from the federal government due to the shutdown of their venues. The government is currently working on legislation to assist Americans and the casinos are asking to be included.