Texas billionaire and casino owner Tilman Fetitta doesn’t think Atlantic City is a nine-casino market. The businessman shared his take on the matter earlier this week in an interview ahead of his scheduled appearance at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City on Saturday for a book signing for his new book.
Mr. Fertitta’s business empire includes the Landry’s hotel group, the Golden Nugget casino chain, and the Houston Rockets of the NBA. In Atlantic City, he owns the Golden Nugget Hotel, Casino & Marina property based in the Marina District.
Asked about his opinion on the current state of the Atlantic City casino market, Mr Fertitta said the city is not “a market of nine casinos” and that he does not understand why no one realizes it. The businessman continued the opening last year of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Ocean Resort Casino) “Affected everyone”.
According to Mr. Fertitta, the two new additions to the city’s casino market may have created thousands of new jobs, “but now all the other casinos had to lay off jobs, so I don’t even know how big the net gain is. He added that none of the Atlantic City casinos that had been in operation before the Hard Rock and Ocean properties opened. “Have the cash flow they did”.
Market cannot support nine casinos
Mr Fertitta explained that the current state of the market reflects what happened at the start of the decade when casino owners were forced to stop investing in their properties due to lower profits caused by increased competition.
This resulted in five of the city’s twelve operational casinos close their doors between 2014 and 2016. Mr Fertitta stated that this was how the casinos were all run down at the time and that the same “huge” mistake is made now.
According to the billionaire businessman, Atlantic City is “A market of seven casinos, and when there were seven casinos, everyone was putting money back into the properties.”
While Golden Nugget’s physical casino operations may have struggled financially in recent months, all of this was offset by the arcade’s digital gaming business. In July and August, Golden Nugget generated the local market second highest total gaming income, behind only the Borgata. The overall casino performance was driven by a 63% annual growth in online gambling.
A bill recently signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will allow Golden Nugget to take bets on NBA games, excluding those in which the Houston Rockets play. When sports gambling became legal in New Jersey last year, owners of casinos that also owned sports teams were prohibited from accepting bets on league games in which the teams participate.
The ban only affected Golden Nugget and the casino was unable to handle NBA betting. This had a hugely negative impact on his sports betting performance as basketball is pretty big in New Jersey.
Regarding his casino’s ability to start betting on NBA action soon, Mr Fertitta said it will be huge for them and he believes they will do well. “and will be a leader just like we are in internet gaming.
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