Atlantic City bouncing back from pandemic with 29% revenue jump in December

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Borgata Casino, Atlantic City - Photo 57801333 / Atlantic City Casino © Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Is Atlantic City back? Joe Lupo, President of the Atlantic City Casino association thinks so after it was announced the industry was up nearly $100 million in December, over December of 2021.

Based upon filings with the Division of Gaming Enforcement, Total Gaming Revenue reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners for December was $404.1 million compared to $312.9 million in December 2020, reflecting a 29.1% increase. Casino Win for December was $211.8 million compared to $147.1 million in December 2020.

“Throughout 2021, the Atlantic City casino industry and its many great employees worked diligently to rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our industry in the New Year, our outlook remains cautiously optimistic for the upcoming year, as we saw increases from 2020 to 2021, and we anticipate the same for 2022,” said Joe Lupo, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey.

Internet Gaming Win as reported by casinos and their partners was $133.2 million in December compared to $99.5 million in the prior period, reflecting an increase of 33.9%. Sports Wagering Gross Revenue as reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners was $59.0 million for the month. For the year-to-date period, the Industry’s Total Gaming Revenue reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners was $4.74 billion compared to $2.88 billion, reflecting an increase of 64.4%. Internet Gaming Win as reported by casinos and their partners increased 40.9% to $1.37 billion when compared to the prior period. Sports Wagering Gross Revenue as reported by casinos, racetracks, and their partners was $815.8 million. Casino Win for the period was $2.55 billion. Please note that, due to COVID-19, Atlantic City Casinos closed on March 16, 2020 and began reopening on July 2, 2020 with operating restrictions. Internet Casino Gaming and Online Sports Wagering operations continued, though most sports wagering events were cancelled during that timeframe. As a result, Casino Win and Sports Wagering Gross Revenue for the year-to-date period ended December 2021 are not directly comparable to 2020.

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Atlantic City continued to experience the challenging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last quarter of 2021 as the country experienced a new surge, which has continued in 2022. Overall, the land-based casino industry saw a 5 percent decline in revenue in 2021 compared to 2019, which underscores the fact that land-based casinos have not recovered to pre-COVID levels. Despite the pandemic, the Atlantic City casino industry generated nearly $422 million in total state tax revenue from gaming operations in 2021, reinforcing the vital role the industry plays across the state, providing a growing labor market that supports and sustains the local region.

Online revenue continued to show positive increases through 2021. While primarily third-party affiliated companies generated those wagers as opposed to operators of Atlantic City’s land-based casinos, online gaming revenue continues to produce very meaningful tax funding for the City of Atlantic City, Atlantic County, and the State of New Jersey.

The casino industry continues to diversify Atlantic City’s offerings, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment projects and amenities. These new investments will create world-class attractions, generate additional employment opportunities and attract more visitors to the beachfront resort in the upcoming year. As the pandemic continues to challenge air travel, one-third of the U.S. population can travel to Atlantic City on a tank of gas, which makes the city an even more attractive tourist destination.

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For the month of December 2021, total gaming taxes were $42.3 million. Total gaming taxes reflect 8% of taxable casino gross revenue, 15% of Internet gaming gross revenue, 8.5% tax on casino and racetrack sports wagering gross revenue and 13% tax on casino and racetrack sports wagering Internet gross revenue. In addition, the casino industry incurred $6.3 million in 1.25% Additional Tax on sports wagering gross revenue and Investment Alternative Tax Obligations (which reflects 1.25% of casino gross revenue and 2.5% of Internet gaming gross revenue). For the month of December 2021, the Racetrack Economic Development Tax of 1.25% of racetrack sports wagering gross revenue was $432,438.