New proof that Atlantic City casinos are doing well; tax breaks near me

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – As New Jersey lawmakers were days away from considering significant tax breaks for Atlantic City casinos, saying as many as four were in danger of closure , state regulators on Thursday released the latest evidence that casinos appear to be doing just fine.

Figures released Thursday by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement show that the nine casinos and three racetracks that accept sports betting collectively earned nearly $ 440 million in November, up more than 52% from the previous year. ‘last year.

For the first 11 months of the year, casinos earned $ 4.3 billion, up almost 69% from the same period last year.

Of course, last year the coronavirus pandemic broke out, forcing casinos to close for 3.5 months. And even when they were allowed to reopen in July 2020, they were still subject to capacity limitations designed to try to prevent the virus from spreading.

Instead, the casino industry is using 2019 – the year before the pandemic – as a benchmark. And even this comparison shows that the casinos are doing much better this year, supported by sports betting and internet gambling winnings.

The $ 4.3 billion earned so far this year is still more than 34% more than the amount earned in the first 11 months of 2019.

The Senate and State Assembly are due to vote on changes to a state law governing how much casinos must pay in lieu of property taxes in Atlantic City, Atlantic County and the school system on Monday .

Changes to the so-called PILOT bill will see casinos paying around $ 55 million less next year than they otherwise would have. The bill would also exempt New Jersey’s two fastest growing revenue streams – sports betting and internet gambling – from calculations on how much casinos have to pay. (Normal state taxes on these items remain in place.)

Outgoing New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney has said if the tax breaks bill is not passed, up to four of the nine casinos would be in danger of shutting down. He offered little evidence to support this claim, and no casino has publicly made this claim.

Rather, Thursday’s numbers paint a picture of an industry enjoying a strong rebound from the pandemic, with each casino reporting higher revenues in November than a year earlier.

The Borgata was at the top at nearly $ 90 million, up more than 44% from a year ago; Hard Rock won over $ 43 million, up over 25%; Ocean Casino won nearly $ 31 million, up over 30%, and Tropicana won just over $ 30 million, up 47%.

Harrah’s earned $ 22.5 million, up over 78%; Caesars won over $ 17 million, up over 34%; Resorts earned $ 12.2 million, up 37%; Golden Nugget took home $ 11.9 million, up 35%, and Bally’s also took home $ 11.9 million, up 83% from last year.

But the numbers reported by the state don’t tell the whole story, according to Joe Lupo, local president of Hard Rock and head of the Casino Association of New Jersey. They show that in-person gambling is down 5.5% from 2019 levels.

“COVID-19 continues to negatively impact the industry,” he said.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at the University of Stockton, which studies the Atlantic City casino industry, said casinos made strong in-person revenue gains in September and October, but fell in November “with the return of colder weather and the resurgence of COVID-19 infection rates.” “

“New Jersey gaming operators have had a respectable recovery,” she said.

Seven of the nine casinos show a decrease in the amount of in-person money players earn compared to 2019, Lupo said. Not counting Hard Rock and Ocean, the other seven casinos are down 22% in the amount won by on-site players.

While sports betting and online gambling have more than closed the gap, casino executives complain that these revenues must be shared between technology and sports betting partners, and are not just reserved for casinos. .

This gives a distorted view of overall casino performance, Lupo said.

New Jersey casinos and the three racetracks that accept sports betting collected $ 1.2 billion in bets in November, just below the national record of $ 1.3 billion set by the state a month earlier.


Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at @WayneParryAC

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