Atlantic City In For An Icy First Quarter 2018, But Spring Brings HopeReading Time: 2 minutes

For a while there it appeared Atlantic City had finally closed the book on its more than decade long downswing. 2017 marked the second consecutive year in which gaming revenue increased, and the first since 2006 that land-based revenue ticked upward, albeit by a razor-thin margin.

It was suspected that this positive trend would continue into 2018. So far it has not.

Due to inclement weather and a general lack of motivation to visit the boardwalk city, revenue has tumbled. This, despite the stellar performance of the state’s regulated online casinos.

March doesn’t bode much better for AC, as the eastern seaboard has been pummeled by winter’s wrath. But hope is on the horizon, and there’s still reason to believe AC could squeak out a win in 2018.

Numbers paint a bleak picture

In January, Atlantic City revenue stumbled 10% year-on-year, which was followed by an 6.5% decrease in February. Factor out online gambling, which was up 17.1% for the first two months of the year, and revenue was down a rather dismal 12.7% for January and 8.9% last month.

Not a single land-based operator saw its year-on-year revenue increase, with four out of Atlantic City’s seven casinos suffering double-digit losses.

Caesars in particular got slammed, with land-based revenue dipping 23% and online gambling revenue down. Resorts did not fare particularly well either, as revenue fell 14.2% and online gambling revenue was relatively flat.

In fact the only casino that saw its revenue increase was Golden Nugget. The casino’s land-based revenue is down 3.9% year-on-year, but thanks to its burgeoning online casino business, total revenue shot up 8.7%. More impressive still, online revenue accounted for 31.3% of the operator’s total revenue, up from just 22.3% last year.

The industry’s poor performance in January ($184.3 million) was attributed mostly to inclement weather. That’s not an unfair assessment, as AC did suffer from below average temperatures and at least three days of heavy rain and snow. By contrast, January 2017 was exceptionally warm, with multiple days in the 50s and 60s.

Using the same justification for February holds less water, as temps were generally above average, soaring as high as 76 degrees on February 21. There was a hefty amount of rain, but little snow.

March is shaping up to a be another rough month for AC as precipitation amounts have already far exceeded the monthly average, thanks in part to several nor’easters slamming the east coast. There also wasn’t much going on in terms of notable entertainment or promotions.

The bleeding might be cauterized somewhat by the presence of an extra weekend day this March as compared to last. Whether or not that will be enough for revenue to pull even or near-even is an open question.



Source: European Gaming Media and Events