Atlantic City’s casinos had winning year in 2017

By Eric Strauss
Atlantic City | Apr 9, 2018 at 3:36 pm

It was a winning year for Atlantic City’s casinos in 2017, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. For the year, the city’s seven casino-hotels and two internet gaming licensees saw total revenue rise 0.9 percent and combined sales grow 0.5 percent, the state said Monday.

Gross operating profit, the casino industry’s equivalent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and items, rose 23.7 percent for the year from full-year 2016, to $723.3 million, from $584.8 million.

Total revenue reached $3.54 billion, up from $3.51 billion, while combined sales rose to $3.74 billion, from $3.72 billion.

Among individual casino-hotels, Borgata led the way in total revenue in 2017, reaching the $1.11 billion mark, up 3.5 percent from its 2016 figure. Resorts Casino had the lowest total revenue, at $240 million, but also had the highest revenue growth rate, at 9 percent. Borgata also recorded the highest gross operating profit, at $292 million, up 19.5 percent from 2016’s $244.7 million. But Tropicana had the highest growth rate in that category, up 71 percent at $91.9 million for 2017, from $53.7 million in 2016.

The only casino to see gross operating profit decline was Harrah’s, which slipped 2.7 percent, from $119.1 million to $115.9 million. No casino had a lower total revenue in 2017; Harrah’s 1.7 percent improvement was the lowest.

(For most of the year-ago period, there were eight casino-hotels in Atlantic City: The Trump Taj Mahal closed in October 2016.)

The casino-hotels’ occupancy rate also rose, up 5.4 percentage points from 2016, to 86.9 percent. Caesars led the way, with a 91 percent occupancy rate, while Golden Nugget lagged behind, at 77.8 percent.

The state’s two internet-only gaming companies exceeded the casino-hotels’ total revenue gains. CIENJ saw growth of 16 percent, from $26.6 million in 2016 to $30.9 million in 2018, while Resorts Digital saw a whopping 102.7 percent gain, from $21 million to $42.7 million. CIENJ’s gross operating profit grew 12.7 percent for the year, while Resorts Digital reversed a year-earlier loss to a $14.5 million gain.

Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | acerimrat