Last month, the nine casinos in Atlantic City won 7% fewer dollars on their brick-and-mortar gaming floors than they did in October 2021.
Land-based gross gaming revenue (GGR) in October 2022 totaled approximately $220.6 million. That’s down 7.1%, or nearly $17 million, from the same month last year. Retail slots kept $166.2 million of the coin-in, a 7.3% year-over-year decline, while table games won about $54.4 million — down 6.6%.
Though in-person play waned, online players lost more in October 2022 than they did during the previous October. GGR from internet slots and table games, plus interactive poker rake, totaled $147.1 million.
The nearly 16% iGaming GGR gain managed to offset the reduced brick-and-mortar business, as well as a disappointing month for oddsmakers. Sports betting revenue decline more than 7% to $77.9 million.
In all, New Jersey GGR totaled $445.7 million in October 2022. That is a 0.7% year-over-year loss — or about $3 million.
Atlantic City casinos have been on a public relations campaign stressing the dire conditions facing the New Jersey beachfront gaming town. The nine properties have stressed that they remain struggling in the wake of the pandemic despite media reports relaying that overall gaming in the Garden State continues to expand.
But much of that revenue — specifically iGaming and online sports betting — doesn’t stay in Atlantic City, but instead goes to the casinos’ third-party partners like DraftKings and FanDuel. The casinos successfully convinced state lawmakers earlier this year to no longer include iGaming and mobile sportsbook revenue in their payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) property tax calculation.
The PILOT adjustment, which remains tied up in courts after Atlantic County sued the state over the amendment, would save the casinos $55 million this year alone in property taxes. If the PILOT alteration is deemed legal, the casinos could save as much as $295 million through the 2026 expiration of the PILOT program.
The casinos are also fighting against an effort being led by gaming workers to extinguish indoor smoking. The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) warns that such a regulatory change could hurt annual brick-and-mortar gaming by as much as 25%, which would lead to thousands of job losses.
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Atlantic City casinos are adamant in urging New Jersey lawmakers to maintain status quo when it comes to gaming regulations in the near future.
Former New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), who championed the PILOT tax break for the casinos, backe those claims. He said on his way out that he’s been told that up to four Atlantic City casinos would be in jeopardy of closing without such property tax savings.
But even with brick-and-mortar GGR slowing by more than 7% in October, last month’s land-based win of $220.6 million was still 9.1% higher than the $202.2 million that the same nine casinos won in pre-pandemic October 2019.
However, the casinos say their overheads have increased greatly amid record inflation and high employee turnover. Still, January through October 2022 land-based GGR of roughly $2.35 billion is more than $101 million ahead of the same 10 months in 2019.
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