While 2020 seemed like the longest year in the history of the universe, 2021 is flying by. We are already past the first quarter and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement recently presented the first quarter results of the gaming industry in Atlantic City. The first quarter of the year was less successful than the same time in 2020, but that is expected given the fact that the pandemic was not an issue last year. This year’s first quarter resulted in $564.7 million in revenues. This is just over 5% less than the $597.2 million from 2020.
First Quarter Results
It is not surprising to find that this year, the first-quarter results are lacking. In 2020, the months of January and February were normal, with tons of cash flowing in. It was not until mid-March that the pandemic started, and casinos were forced to shut down. Since that time, the casinos in Atlantic City have reopened, but at a lower capacity. This resulted in lower revenues than normal.
While the first-quarter revenues were down, the industry did see an increase in gross operating profits. The number jumped from just over $29 million to $95.5 million. Occupancy rates are also down a bit, with the three-month totals coming in at 52.4% which is over 15 percentage points less than the same time frame last year.
The hope is that as the year progresses, the industry will see an increase in earnings and operating profit. It is expected that travelers will be out and about more, especially over the summer, which would lead to higher visitor totals and more spending in AC.
For the quarter, it was the Borgata that was able to come in at the top spot. The casino operator generated $120.7 million in revenue and $29 million in profit. Hard Rock Atlantic City came in second with revenues of $89.4 million.
While Hard Rock did well in revenues, its profits were low, at just over $8 million. Harrah’s casino was not far off from the Hard Rock, earning over $9.5 million. The Tropicana earned a bit more with $16.3 million in earnings. Caesars finished the quarter with $8.2 million in profits while Ocean Casino Resort came in at $7.9 million.
For the quarter, only one casino saw a loss. Bally’s was the down and out operator this time around, coming in with a $6.5 million loss.
When it came to visitors, it was Caesars and Ocean Casino that was the most successful. For Ocean, the property’s hotel room rate topped out at just over $175 a night and they had the highest occupancy rate at more than 76%. Caesars was the second-place operator in this regard, coming in with a hotel rate of over $130 and an occupancy rate of 67.5%.
It will be interesting to see how these numbers fare against the second quarter totals. It is expected that traveler rates will be higher due to the summer months. It is highly unlikely that the industry will not surpass the first-quarter results in the second quarter.