December was one of the best-performing months for casinos in Atlantic City, especially as far as retail casino gambling is concerned. Based on data shared by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the 9 casinos in the city managed to generate a gross gaming revenue of $215 million.
This means that brick-and-mortar casinos in AC enjoyed their highest-grossing December in 10 years as a result. 2022’s Gross Gaming Revenue reached $2.79 million, which was an increase of close to 10% from the $2.55 billion that was produced in 2021.
December’s gaming revenue, which included sports betting and online casino gaming, grew by close to 13% to reach $454.8 million compared to the $404.1 million that was produced in 2021. Out of the city’s 9 casinos, Borgata performed the best producing a GGR of $60.5 million in December 2022 from slots, poker, and various table games.
Hard Rock AC came in at second place with $37.5 million while Oceans Resort managed $29 million. Golden Nugget, on the other hand, produced a GGR of $10.9 million. All in all, the city’s 9 casinos showed increases in revenue in December 2022.
Atlantic City’s growth is expected to continue with new developments on the way in 2023.
With even more massive projects to be unveiled in the coming months, Atlantic City’s revenue will likely keep growing. One of the most notable projects coming to AC’s gambling market is the new Showboat, which is currently in the final phases of renovation. The renovation project cost the brand approximately $50 million.
The new Showboat Hotel will include 800 refashioned rooms complete with smartphone key lock tech. Showboat expects that the upgrades, which will cover the lobby, rooms, and suites will be complete by the summer. The CEO of the hotel announced not too long ago that the upgrades in the lobby would be beach themed.
As one of the only family-friendly casino resorts in Atlantic City, the investments that Showboat is making will no doubt help to attract even more visitors back to the city. The enhancements made will make sure that the city’s post-pandemic recovery continues, even amid mounting competition from New York’s gambling market.
Showboat Casino has a long history in Atlantic City’s gambling market. The casino was originally margi gras themed but was closed down in 2014 after 27 years thanks to increased competition from some of the newer casinos in the city, as well as in neighboring states.
Showboat’s owner at the time, Caesars Entertainment, shut down the casino to reduce the number of casinos in the city which had been struggling for years before the legalization of sports betting 4 years later in 2018. The property was later purchased by Blatstein in 2016 and has since undergone several enhancements including the addition of an indoor go-kart track.
In 2021, Blatstein also debuted the city’s biggest arcade dubbed the Lucky Snake Arcade at Showboat. Several upgrades have also been made to the facility’s convention and meeting spaces while new resident rental units have been added to cater to visiting guests. Although these upgrades have all been instrumental to the success of the Showboat brand, perhaps the biggest renovation will be the Island Waterpark.
The Island Water Park is expected to be a game-changer for casinos in Atlantic City as it will be a one-of-a-kind attraction in Atlantic City. The waterpark will help to attract families in Atlantic City, which has traditionally been a gambling attraction. The park will be 103,000-square-foot and has cost Blatstein approximately $100 million.
In addition to the massive aquatic park, several more Atlantic City casinos have invested heavily in their properties. The president of Resorts casino, Mark Giannantonio, recently announced that Resorts Casino would be unveiling its newly renovated pool complete with a retractable roof so that guests can still enjoy the property during colder winter months.
Resorts Casino has also invested approximately $5 million in new table games, as well as slot machines. The facility has also added a high-limit slot area and introduced an Asian-themed VIP room for high rollers. In 2023, Resorts Casino announced that it would invest close to $10 million in casino floor and hotel room upgrades while Golden Nugget will also unveil new rooms and new infrastructure.
This year, Oceans Casino expects to unveil at least $100 million worth of new amenities between May and October 2023. Oceans is currently in the process of completing 12 floors of hotel room renovations that were never completed when the casino property first opened its doors as Revel in 2012. Some of the new rooms are expected to be ready as quickly as July.
With 9 different casinos to choose from, each of the properties is doing its best to remain competitive. Case in point, Bally’s has been spending $100 million over the last 5 years to boost the poorest performing property’s standing on the revenue tables. Bally’s latest renovation projects include a new rotating 360-degree bar, as well as a new indoor and outdoor beer garden.
Hard Rock, on the other hand, plans to spend at least $20 million to add 70 new slot machines and table games. Hard Rock will also renovate its beach bar, staff-member areas, as well as its sprawling convention space. Hard Rock plans to embark on a spending plan worth at least $30 million in 2023 that will aim to boost all its live entertainment.
Caesars Casino has also not been left behind as it commences work on its new theatre. The brand plans to unveil its new resident show in Q1 2023 that will incorporate the façade of the former Warner Theater from 1929. Borgata has also promised to introduce a new feature in the Marina District to commemorate its 20th anniversary this year.
The clear focus in 2023 will be on attracting more in-person gamblers. During 2022’s first 11 months, the casinos in the city managed to collect $2.56 billion from punters that visited the casino facilities in person. Compared to the $2.47 billion recorded in the first 11 months of 2019, facilities in AC must keep investing in fresh new concepts, dining, accommodation, and entertainment options if it wants to succeed.
In a bid to bring back the casinos’ performance pre-pandemic, Atlantic City has several projects brewing on the horizon. Retail casino gaming still has a long way to go before it can recover fully. However, all these developments discussed above should help greatly.