The COVID-19 outbreak damaged the United States economy as a whole. Certain industries were affected more than others, including the gaming industry. In Atlantic City, the nine operating casinos took a huge hit due to the facility closures and reopening at lower capacities. Gambling regulators in New Jersey released figures on Friday to show how the venues performed last year. The reports showed an over 80% profit drop in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Despite the overall numbers, a total of seven casinos were able to see a profit. Though small, it was still a win for these venues. In total, the nine casinos earned $117.5 million in gross operating profits last year. This was well short of the $594 million in 2019. Gross operating profits show the amount before interest, taxes, depreciation, and additional expenses.
Details of the Year
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission chair, James Plousis, commented in the report on how the area and the casinos endured a challenging year in 2020. Once the casinos shut down in March and reopened in July, the industry was limited. Travel restrictions stopped people from coming from other areas and limited amenities meant fewer travelers as well. Entertainment was also canceled.
Plousis pointed out that with responsible management, the casinos were able to show that in-person gaming can take place safely. Tourists are returning to the shore and they have confidence in Atlantic City that it will be safe for the summer.
The Ocean Casino Resort was the most successful in 2020, able to earn $21.8 million. This is an increase of $6.7 million from the previous year, a huge jump. The owners of Ocean Casino announced just a few days ago that the Ilitch family of Detroit is taking on half of the brand in an acquisition deal. The casino was the only one to see a profit jump during the pandemic.
The Tropicana was able to earn just over $18 million but this was a drop of over 78% from 2019. Hard Rock dropped almost 72% at just $10.9 million in earnings. Caesars came in at $10.4 million, which is a drop of over 84%.
Harrah’s was down a huge 90% with only $8.5 million in earnings. Golden Nugget dropped almost 74% with $7.2 million in earnings. The Borgata earned a low $650,000 which was a 99.7% decrease from 2019. The Borgata’s earnings were low due to the casino operator waiting to reopen at a later date than its competitors.
Resorts was down over $10 million, and this was over $7 million less than 2019. Bally’s was also short, dropping to $10 million from $27.5 million in 2019.
When it comes to online earnings, the story is quite different. The online casino industry took a huge jump in 2020 due to players being stuck at home because of the pandemic. Players couldn’t go anywhere due to stay-at-home orders and fear of catching the virus, so they enjoyed online gaming as a form of entertainment.
Operating profit for Resorts Digital was over $21 million which is a huge jump from $8.5 million in 2019. Caesars Interactive Entertainment NJ was up near $20 million which was a more than 45% jump. The Golden Nugget Online Gaming group was able to see a profit of over $18 million.