Atlantic City Casino News: April Was The Cruelest Month By Far

Updated on May 21, 2020
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Atlantic City Casino News: April 2020 marks the first full month that the Atlantic City casinos remained closed due to the coronavirus. But it probably won’t be the last.

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Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. However, the Atlantic City casinos have not received the green light to open them in time for what under better circumstances would bring huge crowds to the shore.

It is highly unlikely they will be allowed to open in time for the following weekend either.

Ever since Gov. Murphy ordered the closure of all nine Atlantic City casinos on March 16, they have remained closed.

AC casino shutdown reduced NJ casino gambling revenue to all-time low

According to the latest figures from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), as reported in a 5/13/20 article on PressofAtlanticCity.com, the total casino revenue for April amounted to only $82.6 million.

  • This represented a 68.9% drop from the April 2019 casino gambling revenue of $265.4 million.

Online gambling in NJ saved the day

The reported gaming revenue for April came almost entirely from online gambling.

  • In fact, internet gambling produced $80 million in revenue that month.
  • That figure represented a nearly a 119 percent increase over the April 2019 online gambling revenue of only $36.6 million.

The tremendous surge in online casino gambling revenue is not surprising. For now, it remains virtually the only legal gambling option available. Not only Atlantic City casino gambling but also both retail and online sports betting have come to a virtual halt.

Sports betting: down but not out

An interesting fact has come to light with regard to sports betting. Many people have such a compelling urge to gamble they will wager on almost anything.

  • $54.5 million in sports wagers, generating $2.6 million in revenue, came from online betting in April on events involving such sports as Russian ping pong, Belarussian soccer, and European darts!

The previous April, when NJ sportsbooks offered full-scale sports betting, NJ players placed sports bets amounting to nearly $314 million.

Jane Bokunewicz, the coordinator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton Unversity, hopes that Major League Baseball can resume this summer.

As Bokunewicz points out, even if it is played to empty stadiums, “it will give sports bettors something on which to wager. Since approximately 85% of sports bets in New Jersey are booked online, this will be a small boost for the casinos that have online sports betting.”

AC casino gambling revenue for April easily eclipsed previous record low, in March

The extent to which both the local economy and the Government of New Jersey depend on steady revenue from the Atlantic City casinos was already apparent in March. With the land-based casinos open for only the first half of the month, March revenue decreased by 44%.

The previous record low revenue occurred in November 2012 when the casinos remained closed for nine days in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, 15 days of closed casinos in March caused the old record to be shattered.

Unsurprisingly, the figures for April, with no land-based casino revenue coming in at all, proved much worse. Even perennial market leader Borgata reported a revenue drop for April 2020 compared to April 2019 of 72.9 percent.

The only casino which emerged relatively unscathed was Golden Nugget because it runs the most successful online casino.

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