Atlantic City Casino 2021 Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels

wayne parry Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) — Casino revenue in Atlantic City has topped what it was before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but most of the improvement came from the two newer casinos.

Figures released Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show that eight of nine casinos posted gross operating profit last year.

Collectively, the nine casinos earned $766.8 million in 2021, far eclipsing the $117.5 million they earned in 2020.

But their 2021 performance also surpassed that of 2019, the year before the coronavirus outbreak, when casinos collectively earned nearly $594 million.

Gross operating profit reflects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and other expenses, and is a widely accepted measure of profitability in the Atlantic City casino industry.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the University of Stockton’s Lloyd Levenson Institute, which studies Atlantic City’s casino industry, said improved profit margins are encouraging for casinos.

“This should help operators as they seek to offset significant reductions in (gross operating profit) from 2020 and fund major capital improvement projects currently underway at City properties,” she said.

Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Casino, said the increase in gross operating income compared to 2019 is almost entirely due to the performance of his casino and the Ocean Casino Resort.

“You’re releasing Hard Rock and Ocean and the other seven properties have been stable since 2019,” he said. “It’s discouraging.”

Only Bally’s reported an operating loss for 2021 ($13 million), but that was half of its loss a year earlier.

The Borgata posted the biggest operating profit at $174 million, up from $650,000 a year earlier. The Tropicana earned $118.7 million, up from $18.7 million a year earlier.