Return of the Mack: Atlantic City doubles up on revenue growth

Atlantic City
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With the market preparing itself for the opening of two new premises a recent financial report has shown that Atlantic City casino revenues grew for the second consecutive year in 2017 after a decade of decline.

Atlantic City saw its second straight year of gaming revenue growth in 2017, according to recent figures, in news that is sure to breed positivity in a market preparing for the impact of two new market entrants.

Numbers from the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement have shown that on the back of a decade of decline the state has drawn two aces in 2016 and 2017, a notion scarcely believable a few years ago.

Across all metrics the seven properties in Atlantic City generated close to $3.54bn in 12 months, a small, but still significant increase of 0.9 percent on the year prior. Whilst online gam- bling may well be talking the talk at present, land based operations walked the walk and accounted for around $2.6bn of total revenues, with the former taking nearly $250m.

Some of the most positive signs came away from the casino floor, with amenities and accommodation seeing significant revenue boosts as public confidence in the city as an overall leisure destination continues to recover. Hotel occupancy peaked at 86.9 percent for the year, up 5.4 percent on 2016 and overall entertainment revenue grew by six percent to close to $165m.

With the market bracing for the impact the new Hard Rock and Revel properties will have on current operators, gaming venues appear to have reaped the rewards of streamlining offering, leading to a gross operating profit growth of 23.7 percent across the seven casinos, totalling some $725m.

This push for ancillary spend has been reflected by news that the $500m Hard Rock hotel and casino, set to open on 28 June, will host almost 300 nights of live music in its first year of operation.

“We think it’s a great start,” said Hard Rock International chairman, Jim Allen. “It demonstrates our commitment that we are about entertainment and not just about casino. But, certainly, we look forward to continuing to book more acts and even larger acts. There’s some amazing acts on that list, but, certainly, I think the best is yet to come.”

Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam said having the internationally recognised brand come to the area, is a “game-changer” for the wider city as it seeks to re-establish itself as a resort destination.

“Hard Rock is going to be phenomenal for Atlantic City, not because it’s another casino but because their culture, what their brand is about, is what this city needs.”

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