Hard Rock, Ocean are big winners in disappointing year for A.C. casinos

Boardwalk resorts were only 2 of 9 casinos to report higher profits compared to 2021

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort were the big winners in Atlantic City this week, when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued net revenue and gross operating reports for the nine Atlantic City casinos on Tuesday.

They were the only two of nine casinos to report higher profits compared with 2021, with Hard Rock up 20% (to $128 million) and Ocean up 6% ($96.2 million).

The DGE said full-year net revenue was more than $3.16 billion, a 9.3% year-over-year jump — and higher than pre-pandemic totals for the first time. Gross operating profits, however, dropped 4.6%, to $731.2 million.

Borgata saw its operating profit decline more than 19%, to $140.3 million.

Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the Stockton University School of Business, said the numbers reflect a challenging time.

“The year ended with a disappointing decline of nearly 5% GOP compared to 2021,” she said. “Increased local competition and lost earning potential in 2020 combined to make 2022 a uniquely challenging year for several of Atlantic City’s casino operators.

“Anecdotally, operators have increased spending on marketing and promotional efforts to draw in consumers and remain competitive in the market. Increases in wages for the industry workforce also likely contributed to higher operating costs leading to lower GOP at year end.”