Atlantic City’s once-popular gambling hub was turned into a ghost town after the pandemic saw a severe downturn in the number of gamblers and visitors arriving in the city. Industries all over the world have been impacted negatively and the AC casino and gambling industry is no exception.
To encourage social distancing aimed at flattening the curve, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all casinos in the state shut down. He did not allow them to resume operations until July 2nd, which more than covers the whole 2nd quarter in the 3 months (April, May, and June) that the casinos remained shut down.
To cushion the blow, casinos did offer gamblers both online and mobile sports betting services during the quarter, which is how most operators were able to keep their heads above water.
Atlantic City in the red
AC’s economy is heavily reliant on the gambling sector. As such, the three-month period in which gambling houses and casinos remained closed sparked concerns and rightly so with casinos recording huge losses compared to last year as covered here.
During the three-month lockdown, the city’s casino plunged to a $112 million 2nd quarter gross operating loss. This time last year, casinos in the city were celebrating a profit of almost $160 million.
Of the 9 operational casinos, the Golden Nugget, which has the leading internet gambling operation, is the only one that recorded an operating profit during the quarter. As such, the casino made a profit of $3.1 million, which is a 69% drop from last year’s $10 million. Collectively, the 9 casinos reported $121.4 million in net revenue, which is a whopping 85% loss from last year’s 2nd quarter.
Out of the 9 casinos, Borgata recorded the highest losses at more than $40 million compared to last year’s $55 million loss. Oceans Resort recorded an $11.8 million loss, compared to last quarter’s $1.2 million loss. On the other hand, Caesars had a $9.9 million loss, compared to a profit of $16.3 million while Bally’s recorded an $8.7 million loss, compared to last year’s $9.3 million profit.
Hard Rock experienced a loss of $18.2 million, compared to last year’s profit of $11.2 million; Harrah’s recorded a $15.1 million loss, compared to a $23 million profit; Resorts recorded a $12.6 million loss, compared to a $5.3 million profit while Tropicana recorded an $11.8 million loss, compared to a $22.6 million profit.
During this tough period, casinos did everything they could including offering casinos workers as much support as possible as covered here. Before re-opening, casinos also invested heavily to prepare safe gambling environments once employees and casino guests return. It is that critical investment that has allowed many casinos to welcome back visitors as the industry attempts to recover from the red.
Online gambling on the rise during the pandemic
The pandemic might have led to the shutdown of casinos, but AC residents are wagering more than ever online as covered here. With the endemic bring a halt to sports as we knew them, bookmakers have turned to casino games and virtual sports. And even though the football marches and horse races may be simulated, the dangers of online gambling are all too real.
The pandemic has created the perfect recipe for gambling addicts to sink further than they already have. For those who don’t usually gamble, gambling provides the perfect opportunity to waste the day away. Either way, people will be adversely affected, especially if the necessary parties do not step up and make gambling education a priority.
How the pandemic has affected sports betting
The cancellation of major sports events has put a strain on the sports betting industry. For fans, the cancellations have left a gaping hole in their routines. However, it is the gamblers that live to watch and bet that are feeling the blow the most as covered here.
Sports and gambling are intimately connected. Since the Supreme Court gave the all-clear in 2018, legalized sports betting has taken off. Not only do apps make it super convenient, but all the biggest and best leagues have also struck deals with betting companies, which further makes sports wagering more appealing.
Both gamblers and operators have suffered immensely during this period. Operators and casinos have been forced to furlough thousands of staff. Worse still, the lack of sports to bet on has pushed gamblers online as covered here, a situation that has made things much worse for problem gamblers and addicts as covered here.