Casino Association: Strong start to 2020 for Atlantic City

By Emily Bader
Atlantic City | Feb 13, 2020 at 11:17 am

The Casino Association of New Jersey announced on Wednesday that Atlantic City has been churning out solid gaming revenues since the start of 2020, according to the most recent Division of Gaming Enforcement report.

January 2020, according to the report, marked the 20th month in a row for gaming revenue increases in the resort city, reaching $270.5 million, a 22.6% increase over the same period last year.

“2020 is off to a promising start for Atlantic City,” Steve Callender, president of the CANJ, said. “The city continues to see increased sports betting and tourism, two important economic drivers. I look forward to a year of continued progress in 2020.”

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Online gaming revenue was more than $55 million, up 64% over January 2019;
  • In January 2020, the industry generated $25 million in taxes and fees collected by the state;
  • Sports wagering revenue was more than $23.4 million, up 140% from January 2019.

Last year was the first full year of sports betting in the state. The Big Game, according to CANJ, increased tourism to the area for the month, reinforcing the impact sports betting has on the casino industry.

“January saw promising increases in gaming revenue over last year and continues to build on the positive trends set forth in December, when traffic at the Pleasantville toll was up 6.4% for the month,”  Rummy Pandit, executive director at The Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming Hospitality & Tourism, said. “Gaming, hospitality and tourism position Atlantic City as a strong economic driver for the greater Atlantic county, region and the state, with sports betting and non-gaming activities making healthy contributions toward that end.”

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks

The state’s online and retail sportsbooks are positioned to overtake Nevada for the first time since August 2019, after a record month’s handle of $53.6 million (up 285% from January 2019’s $18.8 million), according to analysts from PlayNJ.com.

“New Jersey could very well top Nevada, not just in January, but for the foreseeable future,” Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, said. “And assuming that happens, we could be seeing the beginning of New Jersey’s more permanent place as the top market in the country.”

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks generated $540.1 million in bets this month, up 71.3% from $385.3 million in January 2019, according to the DGE report. In December 2019, sportsbooks generated $557.8 million worth of bets.

Basketball generated $177.5 million or 32.9% of the state’s handle in January, overtaking football as the state’s top draw.

Nevada, which has topped New Jersey’s monthly handle since the start of the NFL season, is now tracking behind the Garden State, which generated $497.5 million in January.

“While still the most popular sport in New Jersey, football does not quite command the same share of the sports betting market as it does in Nevada,” Gouker said. “Meanwhile, basketball has proven to be a big winner for the state. That puts New Jersey in prime position over the next few months in its race to become the country’s largest legal sports betting jurisdiction.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader