In Atlantic City, the casino industry is trying to get back to business amidst the pandemic. But this has been difficult to do. Casinos are operating at a lower capacity with less amenities. Reopening has helped to bring in revenues once again, but totals are not near as high as operators would like. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement recently revealed the August totals, showing that sports betting helped to lower the deficit, which created a more manageable drop in totals.
Lowering the Hit
When comparing August 2019 to 2020, the deficit was only 7.5%. This is a relatively low amount considering how the state has been hit by the coronavirus. Three factors have played into the lower revenue drop. First, each of the casinos in Atlantic City were open for a full month. Even though capacity is still low, the casinos were able to earn $199.1 million. This is over 30% less than August of last year.
Sports betting increased, however. Players were most likely glad to have sports to bet on again and wasted no time logging online to bet. When comparing July to August for sports betting, the revenues were up close to $10 million. August is usually a slow month for sports betting, but the NBA and NHL had their playoffs due to the delay in the season.
Online casino gaming also helped with the month bringing in just over $87 million. This was more than double the total from August of last year. It even beat out the record set last month for the industry. Of the money earned, $32.4 million was paid in taxes.
Sports Betting Boost
Sports were lacking for months in the US as teams took a break during their regular season to avoid the coronavirus. It seemed like forever but finally by July, we have Major League Baseball then the NBA and the National Hockey League. With sports back in action, the sportsbooks in New Jersey could finally get back to business.
For August, the NBA and NHL ruled the action. The state of New Jersey saw a new record handle set by casinos for sports betting at $668 million. Just over $600 million of that amount was wagered online. This is actually the biggest betting handle ever seen in a state for one month.
Unfortunately, even the high sports betting totals won’t help the casinos to match 2019 in total. There were three months, April, May and June, when the casinos were not bringing in any funds. This lead to the total gaming revenue for the first eight months of the state to be down 29% from 2019.
Players began taking to the online sector as casinos shut down. Even online poker saw a surge and it has continued through August. Last month, online poker earned $3 million which is an almost 78% increase when comparing the same time last month.
It will be interesting to see if the recovery efforts grow over the next few months. Will the capacity percentages be relaxed? Will players wager enough to lower the deficit?