All Nine Atlantic City Casinos Profitable in Third Quarter, as Gaming Recovery Continues

Atlantic City casinos each posted a profit in the third quarter of 2021, a strong sign that the beachfront gaming industry is alive and well. The good news comes nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic made landfall in New Jersey and the United States.

Atlantic City casino profit gaming revenue
Atlantic City casino profit gaming revenue
Gamblers at a craps game at Bally’s Atlantic City celebrate during play earlier this month. Each of Atlantic City’s nine casinos were profitable during the third quarter of 2021. (Image: Bally’s Atlantic City)

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) today revealed how each of the nine casino resorts fared during July through September. Based upon filings made with the state gaming agency, the casinos reported a collective gross operating profit of $310.8 million. That’s more than double the $151 million that the same nine properties reported in Q3 of 2020.

Due to a streamlining of operations and reduction in business overhead, Atlantic City casinos were able to improve their bottom lines despite the ongoing pandemic. Along with the strong rebound from 2020, Q3 2021 was better than the same three months in 2019.

“In comparison to the third quarter of 2019, the casinos’ net revenue was 4.2 percent higher and gross operating profits improved nearly 30 percent. Through efficiencies, every operator posted a profit in the third quarter — a great accomplishment coming out of an extremely challenging period,” declared James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

MGM Resorts’ Borgata led the way with an operating profit of more than $57.2 million during the three-month span.

Gaming, Profits Soar

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Atlantic City is roaring in the latter part of 2021. Brick-and-mortar casino win was up 27 percent in October from 2020, but also 15 percent better than October 2019.

Robust gaming paired with reduced overhead equated to a strong three months for the casinos. After Borgata, Tropicana turned the second-best operating profit at $48 million. Hard Rock was third at $46.3 million, Harrah’s fourth at $44 million, and Ocean rounded out the top five at $37.1 million.

Golden Nugget reported the smallest yield. But the Marina District casino still posted a $14.3 million profit.

Through nine months, the casinos have experienced an operating profit of more than $592.3 million. At this time a year ago, that figure stood at just $69 million.

Results continue to show improvement with each passing quarter,” Plousis added. “Atlantic City’s recovery is gaining momentum and is on track for an impressive year.

“The properties are to be commended for how they handled this challenge, both for their customers and employees, and are now rebounding from it,” the chair concluded.

Occupancy Remains Low

Atlantic City casinos have lowered their overhead in a variety of ways. Along with smaller workforces, the resorts have curtailed expenses with fewer guest comps. Most casino hotel expenditures have also been cut due to tending to fewer guests.

While gaming has returned to pre-pandemic levels, overnight visitor numbers have not.

The Q3 report shows that of the casinos’ 15,105 hotel rooms were occupied at a rate of 81.3 percent. That’s down considerably from the 90.8 percent occupancy rate in the same three months in 2019.

However, Atlantic City casinos have made the conscious decision to increase their hotel room rates. The average nightly rate for an occupied room at a casino went for $225 in Q3 2021. That is nearly 40 percent higher than in 2019.

As a result, hotel room revenue totaled roughly $247.3 million in Q3 2021. In the same quarter in 2020, that number was a little more than $202.6 million.

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