ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — New Jersey casinos, racetracks that offer sports betting and online partners of both types of gambling venues earned $470.6 million from gamblers in August, up more than 10% from last year. previous year, according to figures released Friday by state gaming regulators.
The amount of money won by in-person gamblers in casinos was nearly $274 million, up 4.4% from the previous year. But that total was still lagging behind the August 2019 level, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, when the total was over $286 million.
Returning to pre-pandemic levels for in-person gamblers has been the main focus of Atlantic City’s nine casinos, regardless of whether money from the internet and sports betting continues to grow.
These revenue streams are misleading, casino executives say, because casinos can’t keep all that money; it must be shared with third parties, including technology platforms and sportsbooks. According to some estimates, up to 70% of sports and internet betting money is not kept by casinos.
“It’s been a great summer for Atlantic City and the region,” said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Board. “Recent efforts to create impressive in-person experiences will continue to build positive momentum into the fall.”
Comparing results for the three summer months to the same period last year, Atlantic City casino winnings increased more than 6% and total gambling revenue exceeded $1.2 billion , up 9%, Plousis said.
Jane Bokunewicz, director of the University of Stockton’s Lloyd Levenson Institute, which studies the Atlantic City casino industry, called the casinos’ August performance a “good performance.”
She noted that in-person casino winnings, while lagging behind the pre-pandemic level of August 2019, have still topped every other month in August since 2015.
“The relatively slow growth of physical gaming revenues compared to the growing contribution of Internet gaming to total revenue could potentially suggest a shift in consumer behavior that does not cannibalize in-person gaming, but includes significant Internet gaming activity. “, she said. said. “A reduced reliance on exclusively in-person gambling activity has the potential to keep New Jersey’s casino industry competitive with its neighbors and more resilient to market disruptions that could potentially occur in the future.”
For the month of August, five of the nine casinos reported increases in the amount of money won over the previous year. They are: Borgata ($120.7 million, up more than 29%); Hard Rock (nearly $54 million, up 2.8%); the Ocean Casino Resort (nearly $40 million, up nearly 14%); Bally’s (just over $20 million, up almost 30%); and resorts ($18.7 million, up 0.2%).
Four casinos recorded declines in revenue compared to the previous year. They are: Golden Nugget ($44.5 million, down 2.7%); Tropicana ($35.1 million, down 7.8%); Harrah’s (just over $25 million, down 10.4%); and Caesars (just over $22 million, down nearly 13%).
The Borgata had its second-best month ever in August, trailing only the $124 million it earned from players in July. Both figures represent the highest totals ever achieved by an Atlantic City casino since legal gambling began here in 1978.
Among internet-only entities, Resorts Digital took home $43.5 million, up nearly 26%, and Caesars Interactive NJ took home $8.9 million, down 10%.
For the first eight months of this year, casinos, tracks and their partners collectively earned $3.38 billion, up 13.2% from the same period last year.
Casinos and tracks took in $546.7 million from sports bets in August, and kept $65.2 million in revenue after paying winning bets and other expenses. Meadowlands Racecourse in East Rutherford, just outside New York, took home $33.1 million; Freehold Raceway won $2.7 million and Monmouth Park in Oceanport near the Jersey Shore took home $1.8 million.
Internet casino games brought in $131.4 million in August, up more than 16% from a year earlier. On Wednesday, a state legislative panel reported that New Jersey lawmakers are prepared to extend the state’s online gambling license for another 10 years, through 2033.
Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter: @WayneParryAC