Amid the pulsating lights and the resonant chimes of slot machines, the nine bastions of Atlantic City’s gambling realm have emerged with a tale of triumph in the third quarter of 2023. With the summer sun kissing the coastline, patrons filled the halls of chance and luxury alike, enabling each of the city’s nine casinos to see profitability, despite a shifting economic tide—a testament, perhaps, to their enduring allure.
The core of such feats lies within the ledger lines: net revenues hovering around the colossal figure of $949.26 million for the stretch from July to September, mirroring the figures from the previous year. It’s an impressive plateau to maintain, yet not without the strain of amplified operating costs slicing profits down nearly 7% to $274.45 million.
This matrix of revenue and costs is reflected in the gross operating profit—a mercantile, well-esteemed measure of profitability for Atlantic City’s gaming industry. This metric peels away the financial facade to reveal the true earnings, untainted by the nuances of interest, taxes, and the array of depreciation values and miscellaneous expenses.
Even as the profit margins felt the pinch, retracting by about $20 million, this quarter marked the second in a row where the velvet ropes cordoned off no territory in the red.
Leading the charge once more was Borgata, an MGM Resorts jewel, reclaiming its crown as the foremost profitable casino with a grand gross operating profit of $73.5 million. Constantly in its wake were Hard Rock and Ocean, securing their spots as runners-up with profits of $44.3 and $43 million, respectively.
The list cascades down through Tropicana’s $36.8 million, with Harrah’s, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Resorts, and Bally’s trailing behind, each capturing their portion of monetary success.
A note of distinction, however, is cast upon Caesars Entertainment. Its murmur of the digital realm—an iGaming revenue not commingled with the tangible casino profits—recommends a separate enumeration, pushing its three Atlantic City establishments to slightly loftier heights with an additional gross profit of $5.1 million for the quarter.
Borgata’s narrative for this year is laced with a recuperative arc. After briefly surrendering its apex position in the second quarter, it surged back with a net revenue of more than $218.3 million for the third. A meticulous revision of its first and second quarter reports also aided its coffers, a reallocation of its rent dealings from an operational to a non-operational classification, ultimately rendering its profits significantly higher than initially presented.
From January through September, the city’s gaming profits have accrued to $632.1 million, a slight dip from last year’s watermark, but Borgata stands tall as the titan among them, amassing profits of $178.1 million.
Yet, even as the current year’s tale unfolds, there is magic in the reflection upon 2019’s pre-pandemic epoch. The nine casinos trumped their past performance, with current profits exceeding the $239.4 million of that previous era on net revenue of $928.9 million.
These figures are cast against a backdrop of fewer visitations and exalted room rates, as visitors secured their stays in Atlantic City’s opulent hotel rooms less frequently, yet at a premium rate—with the average night costing $218 in 2023 as opposed to the $161 in 2019. James Plousis, the chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, encapsulated this period as one where the casino revenue and profit not only bested pre-pandemic levels but also ranked as some of the most flourishing in over a decade.
As the third quarter winds closed, the Atlantic City array of resort hotel rooms—totaling 15,520—achieved an impressive occupation rate of nearly 86%. This culinary chapter of room bookings indicates that the allure of Atlantic City continues to beckon, as the city marches forward with an average nightly rate of $186 and year-to-date occupancy standing strong at 75%.