Atlantic City has had its ups and downs over the last few decades, but a recent spike in profits has given the gambling city a much-needed boost in business. While the gambling action is usually cold in a typical Atlantic City February, this year’s profit surge was aided by online gambling and sports betting action.
2 Casinos Beat the Odds
While February winter winds and snow normally keep gamblers away from Atlantic City, the betting action from Atlantic City’s online casinos and sportsbooks is heating things up considerably. Caesars Entertainment and Resorts Casino Hotel are the only 2 AC casinos which also saw gains at their physical casinos, a major win for the cold month with fewer calendar days.
The 2 casino giants found insulation from the cold season by opening their own online gaming portals and sports betting websites. Resorts Casino was the top bet for AC this year, showing a 23% growth in its land-based casino and a whopping 76% gain from its internet gaming operations. The reason for this dominance is that Resorts owns its own online gaming platform, and partners with top-tier operators like PokerStars, Mohegan Sun, and DraftKings. DraftKings holds a 33% market share of the AC sports betting action.
Caesars Entertainment also showed growth in both physical and online casino profits. Caesars has its own online casino platform, as well as one for Harrah’s. Partnerships with 888 and the World Series of Poker also adds to their pile of chips.
A Citywide Jump in Profits
While Caesars and Resorts Casino were the clear winter winners this year, all Atlantic City casinos saw a 15.7% increase in February profits from last year. Only Caesars and Resorts saw profits from both online and land-based casinos, but the remaining AC casinos enjoyed a boost in profits from their online betting presence. This boom in profits more than offsets losses at their physical casinos.
Online gambling has been legal in Atlantic City since 2013, but sports betting was only legalized in New Jersey last year. The trifecta of land-based casinos, online gaming platforms, and sportsbooks has proven to be a real winner for all AC casinos this year.
Total gaming revenue has been on the rise for 9 consecutive months leading up to February. Forecasts for the sports betting sector look positive, as college basketball’s March Madness tournaments are underway, as well as the 2019 Major League Baseball season.
A Long Recovery
The ‘Boardwalk Empire’ of Atlantic City dates back to the late 1800s, when the city was opened as an East Coast vacation resort destination. After sagging profits in the off seasons threatened to sink AC, certain corrupt politicians decided to take advantage of the Prohibition era by allowing hidden speakeasies in the bars and hotels. Naturally, gambling existed side by side with the illegal hooch scene.
Atlantic City was a boomtown all through the Roaring Twenties, but fell on bad luck again at the end of Prohibition (along with a crackdown on corruption). By the 1970s, AC was rapidly becoming a slum. In another bid to turn the tide, the beach town was saved by New Jersey’s decision to legalize gambling in 1978. Thus began the boom in megaresort casinos which led through the 90s.
Once again, AC fell on hard times after the global financial crisis, and many casinos closed or traded hands. But casino moguls decided to cash in on the burgeoning online casino industry by leveraging their own casino presence and building internet brands. By hosting their own online casinos and sportsbooks, Atlantic City is poised once again to take a bite out of the global gambling pie.