Online Gaming saves Atlantic City from Further Fall in 2014

For the eighth-straight year, Atlantic City experienced a casino revenue decrease, earning $2.74 billion throughout 2014. This is down 4.2% from 2013, when the city’s casinos took in $2.86 billion in revenue. But if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that things could have been a lot worse without online gaming.

Last year, Atlantic City’s iGaming operators earned a combined $122 million in revenue. This was well below New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s initial estimate of over $1 billion in the online gaming market’s first year. However, taking iGaming completely out of the equation, the Atlantic City casino market would have only earned $2.62 billion in 2014. And what’s nice is that improvements to New Jersey iGaming could pave the way for even more online revenue this year.

Atlantic City could certainly use all the help they can get when considering that four of its 12 casinos closed last year. Atlantic Club, Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza all shut down amid decreasing revenue and increasing competition from other states. Experts have contended all along that some casinos would have to close for the East Coast gaming mecca’s revenue to stabilize. And now that this has happened, there are some encouraging signs from the market as a whole. Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, highlighted this point with the following comments:

“If we focus on the casinos that are still in operation, revenue was up 9.4 percent for the month of December alone, and a healthy 7.8 percent for the entire year. The closure of four casinos last year was a traumatic contraction of the industry, but it clearly has left us with a casino industry that is better positioned for growth in the future.”

Expanding on what Levinson said, several casinos saw increased revenue in 2014 when local competitors closed their doors. The Golden Nugget saw their earnings experience a 48% spike, finishing 2014 with $185 million in revenue. The Tropicana experienced a 30% jump, finishing with $297 million. And the Borgata experienced an 11% increase when their revenue hit $687 million. Resorts (6.6% increase) and Harrah’s (2.5% increase) also saw their revenue go upward.

With fewer casinos and a continually improving online gaming market, Atlantic City appears better equipped to deal with the surrounding competition. Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania all feature bigger gaming markets, which has taken a bite out of Atlantic City’s profits. So the seaside resort must continue finding ways to compete with the growing East Coast casino scene.