Atlantic City’s two new market entrants and the opening of sportsbooks provided a boost for a market struggling to meet last year’s positivity. Eyes are now being cast forward to see how existing enterprises deal with the change.
The latest figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show that June proved a boon for the city’s gambling industry, even though the new properties counted less than a week of operation.
Atlantic City’s casinos enjoyed a 6.3 percent revenue increase in June when compared to the year prior with totals hitting $231.4m, which also represents a $14.1m rise on May. It is not wishful thinking to expect these numbers to continue an upwards trajectory throughout the summer months, especially once the Hard Rock and Oceans Resorts properties are given the good grace of a full month of operation.
The question now is of course about how the two new entrants impact the rest of the market. In terms of total casino win, Hard Rock brought in $4.17m in four days while Ocean counted $3.01m. Such would appear clearly positive as both properties appeared to hit the ground running, but the issue lies in their effect on others.
Total casino win for June grew by $10m throughout Atlantic City, meaning that close to 72 percent of this growth was solely attributable to the new ventures.
Meanwhile existing land based casinos had a mixed bag in the month, something that the implementation of a sports book before the NFL season can’t allay alone.
There is always the possibility that the heavy entertainment focus, especially in the case of Hard Rock, that will be brought by the two new properties will in turn benefit New Jersey as a wider leisure destination, but if this only does so at the loss of the existing operators it is a hard win to reconcile.
Chairman of Hard Rock International, Jim Allen, however is keen to turn the tide in Atlantic City and see it once more become a fully fledged tourism hotspot, rather than a fly-by-night gaming hub.
“We would certainly agree that Atlantic City is still primarily a gaming total gross revenue market,” he said. “Our goal is to continue to try to move that to where it’s not 80 [to] 90 percent, but we eventually get into a 60 [to] 65 percent gaming, 35 [to] 40 per- cent or so nongaming,”
This move towards a Las Vegas model seems a natural progression for a market that has seen its fair share of economic woes in the last decade and it may well be that Hard Rock is to set a standard for the other properties to match.
“No matter how we look at it, the casino customer is about trip frequency,” he continued. “We’re all competing for trips. But if you offer a quality experience, [Hard Rock] Atlantic City has so many amenities… that others just can’t compete with.”