Things Looking Up? Atlantic City Could Be At The Start Of A Comeback
Nearly two-and-a-half years after the city’s casino contraction of 2014, there are signs that the city could be moving toward an economic recovery. A recent article from U.S. News & World Report said, “Atlantic City’s casinos appear to be getting their groove back.”
Some of the optimism stems from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement‘s 2016 report, which showed that casino gaming revenue rose this past year.
Internet gambling providing a big boost
This rise in gaming revenue, year-on-year, was the first in 10 years, and is mainly due to the fact that online gambling has increased significantly since it was legalized in 2013.
Revenue from NJ gambling websites rose 32 percent in 2016 over 2015.
Golden Nugget and Borgata are the perennial revenue leaders, consistently posting around 40 percent of the state’s overall internet gambling revenue.
According to PlayNJ, Golden Nugget started out 2016 in the middle of the pack revenue-wise, before its Betfair online casino helped it surge ahead.
Focus on non-gaming revenues helps
It wasn’t just the casino gaming floors that saw promising increases in 2016, though. A trio of casinos made in convention center upgrades in the past few years:
- Borgata: $11 million
- Harrah’s: $125 million
- Resorts: $9.4 million
The gem of this group is Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, which opened in 2015. The center includes 100,000 square feet of convention space.
These three upgrades, the Press of Atlantic City pointed out, contributed to a 23-percent increase in the number of trade shows, conventions and meetings held at Borgata, Harrahs’ and Resorts.
Harrah’s and Borgata, along with the Tropicana, have also invested millions in upgrading their clubs and pools to attract millennials.
Hard Rock purchase another bright spot
While the numbers we’ve discussed are from 2016, 2017 has also proved to be an encouraging one for Atlantic City’s renewal.
Hard Rock International announced this past month it finalized the purchase of the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal. Earlier this week, Hard Rock indicated it would spend $375 million to renovate the property.
Hard Rock estimates the hotel and casino will bring 3,000 new jobs to the area.