The Division of Gaming Enforcement released May gaming numbers on June 16, with the nine casinos producing $233 million in gross gaming revenues.
Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, says the May figures show a continuation of an overall pattern of recovery for Atlantic City’s casino operators, but noted the economic headwinds they face.
“Inflation may be beginning to impact in-person gaming revenues. Brick-and-mortar gross gaming revenue totals for the month, expected to improve over last month’s $235.3 million, were effectively flat at $233 million, down less than 1%,” said Bokunewicz. “Brick-and-mortar revenue for the month did improve over last year ($213.1 million) by 9.3% and improved 4.5% over pre-pandemic May 2019 ($222.9 million).”
Meanwhile, internet gaming, which has been red-hot throughout the pandemic and over the last few months, produced $136 million in May, which was a 25.7% jump versus last year. But that sector did not increase from April’s figures, either.
“In keeping with a typical seasonal increase in visitation to Atlantic City and its casinos, internet gaming revenues for the month were effectively flat at $136 million compared to last month’s $136.9 million (April 2022),” said Bokunewicz. “We may see a flattening if not a small decline in internet gaming revenues throughout the summer as patrons shift their gaming behavior to take advantage of the city’s in-person offerings.”
Sports wagering also continued its expected post-March Madness and pre-NFL season cooldown, with a May handle of $766.4 million (versus $927 million in April), producing $61.6 million in gross revenue for operators.
While the May figures show reason for optimism moving through the crucial summer months, analysts and operators are paying close attention to the myriad of economic issues that the entire country is currently facing.
“Inflation, and continued increases in gas prices, may be starting to impact visitor behavior. People, still eager to get away, may consider Atlantic City with its beach, boardwalk, fine dining, entertainment and casinos an attractive choice for something closer to home,” said Bokunewicz. “However, when they get here, they may have less money to spend.”