Bally’s Atlantic City may have had a slight glimmer of hope that its doors would remain open once again. However, hopes for the once-popular casino resorts were squashed when the New Jersey Casino Control Commission canceled the October public meeting scheduled to determine its fate. This special meeting, which was scheduled to consider whether Twin River Worldwide Holdings should be granted interim casino authorization of Bally’s was canceled as a result of a lack of actionable agenda items as discussed here.
Regulators were expected to consider Twin River Worldwide Holdings’ intention to purchase Bally’s Atlantic City from Caesars and VICI Properties before the end of the year as we covered here. Now, this consideration will have to be pushed back until the commission’s next meeting, which is scheduled to take place on November 18th, 2020.
Details of Bally’s Atlantic City expected sale
Twin River Worldwide Holdings hopes to buy Bally’s for $25 million. This deal, which was announced in April, would effectively net VICI approximately $19 million for the land and property. Caesars, on the other hand, would bag nearly $6 million.
Caesars is currently in charge of 4 of Atlantic City’s 9 casinos — Bally’s, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, and Tropicana Atlantic City. Once the details of the sale are finalized and approval is granted, Caesars will retain the Wild Wild West Casino concept, as well as the William Hill Sportsbook.
Once the sale is complete, Rhode Island-based Twin River hopes to construct a new sportsbook for Bally’s Atlantic City when awarded the sports betting license. More anticipated upgrades include the addition of new suites, as well as refurbishing old ones.
Punters and tourists should also expect the incorporation of more restaurant brands, added gaming options, renovated meeting and conference spaces, as well as a new sophisticated spa and pool area. As you can imagine, a lot of hopeful workers and shareholders are looking forward to the approved sale of Bally’s Atlantic City.
Not only does Atlantic City need it, but the state is also relying on a boost in tax revenue having survived a tough pandemic period.
Atlantic City’s tough history of casino closures
The shimmering seaside resort and the East Coast’s first and only gambling mecca has been through some really tough times in the past couple of years. Casinos in Atlantic City had been closing left right and center causing thousands of workers to lose their jobs while leaving many others despondent and disillusioned by a system that once promised stability and well-paying jobs.
The Showboat, Trump Plaza, and Revels in Atlantic City are just a few of the casinos that were forced to close doors thanks to financial hardships and increased competition. The shrinking Atlantic City’s casino market also meant better financial performance for the surviving operators.
So far, the city’s 9 remaining casinos have been doing considerably well, up until the pandemic because of the right-sized gambling market. Atlantic City remains one of the few destinations in the heavily populated tri-state area that has everything a visitor needs; a place to stay, eat and play all in one. As such, the city’s fortunes will continue turning but first, we must survive the pandemic.
Legal sports gambling has been a savior
Without legal sports betting, Atlantic City would still be a shell of a city impacted by a series of casino closures. However, tides have changed thanks to the booming legal sports market, which has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since the industry was legalized in 2018.
In 2 short years, Atlantic City has risen from the rubble to become America’s gambling capital, overtaking the once behemoth Vegas. The garden state has been recording groundbreaking revenue numbers ever since the legalization of sports betting. Just this September, Bettors put up a whopping $748.6 million in bets with legal sportsbooks in the state.
Through the first nine months of the year, the Garden State has taken in a total of $3.3 billion in sports wagers through the 1st 9 months, a boost from the $2.96 billion that was recorded during the same period last year.
As you can expect, online sports betting continues to stand as king and is responsible for 90.7% of all wagers placed. Retail betting, alternatively brought in an impressive w$69.8 million in September, a boost from $66 million in August. Online casinos and poker, on the other hand, brought in a total of $87.6 million for September.
This growth was fueled by the obvious return of NFL games, which stood as the most wagered on sport of the months with $159.5 million in bets made. September was a unique month in the sports calendar history as all 4 major U.S sports held major events simultaneously for the first time.
October will be the real test for sports betting but things don’t signal a slowdown. This strong performance in the last couple of months has not only helped Atlantic City casinos to weather the pandemic storm, but it has proven that the city can withstand anything and still come out on top.
The fate of Bally’s Atlantic City may still be undetermined, but one thing is clear- that the future has never shined brighter for Atlantic City casinos. Atlantic City’s success has not only opened up the legislation of sports in other parts of the country, but it has also been a positive for bettors, sportsbook operators, as well as the local government.
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