Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (2023)

Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (1)

Casino executives in Atlantic City may continue to plead poverty but the numbers tell a different story. Last month’s tally was $274 million, up 4.5% from last year. Slot revenue was $204 million, up 3% on looser hold and 3.5% more coin-in. Table games brought in $68 million, an 8.5% jump on 8% greater wagering. Borgata vaulted 38% to $72 million, most closely followed by Hard Rock Atlantic City, flat at $46 million. Then came Ocean Casino Resort‘s $36.5 million, a 10% hop. All three Caesars Entertainment properties lost market share. Caesars Atlantic City fell 13% to $22 million, Harrah’s Resort was down 10.5% to $25 million and Tropicana Atlantic City slipped 10.5% to a group-best $26 million. If you rolled all three together they’d just barely be making more money than Borgata alone. Which is kind of sobering. Bally’s Atlantic City clawed 2% higher to $16 million, Resorts Atlantic City was flat at $18.5 million and Golden Nugget slid 18.5% to $13 million.

Internet gambling brought in another $131.5 million, with Borgata enjoying a 32% market share to Golden Nugget’s 24%, Resorts Digital‘s 23.5%. Then, way down, was Caesars with 7%, elbowing aside Hard Rock (4.5%), Tropicana (4%), Bally’s (3.5%) and Ocean (2%). Bill Callahan needs to look to his digital operation at Ocean. Sports-betting operators got lucky, grossing $65 million (+25.5%) on handle of $547 million (-18%). Wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli, “We note this is the fourth consecutive month of Y/Y declines in New Jersey handle, which could be due to a combination of the scaling back of promotions and the impact of New York launching mobile.” FanDuel took home $28.5 million before promos, while DraftKings has $12.5 million and BetMGM $7 million. Caesars Sportsbook was close behind at $6 million, accompanied by Barstool Sports ($3 million).

Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (2)

Just across the river, Pennsylvania casinos grossed $280 million (which makes Atlantic City’s numbers look that much more impressive), down 5.5% and -8.5% on a same-store basis. Can you say ‘saturated’? Parx Casino was 7.5% off last year’s pace but lapped the field with $50 million. Wind Creek Bethlehem dipped 6% to $41 million and Rivers Pittsburgh stumbled 8.5% to $28 million. In the battle of Philadelphia, second-place honors went to Live Philadelphia, down 6% but nosing aside Rivers Philadelphia (plunging 15.5%), $18.5 million to $17.5 million. Harrah’s Philadelphia slid 15% to $14 million and Valley Forge Casino Resort dipped 1.5% to $11 million.

The Pittsburgh market was an outright win for Rivers, with Hollywood Meadows down 5% to $16 million and Live Pittsburgh grossing $9 million (-2%). Elsewhere, Presque Isle Downs slowed 9% to $10 million, Mount Airy (having beaten a craven retreat on its smoking ban) still slipped 3% to $17.5 million, Hollywood Penn National fell 14% to $15 million, while Lady Luck Nemacolin was its usual lackluster self, plummeting 27% to $2 million. The only revenue-positive casino in the state was Hollywood York, up 71% to $8 million. Newbie Hollywood Morgantown was good for $5 million.

Keystone State i-gaming, by contrast, surged 21% to $107 million. Hollywood’s gaggle of licensees brought in $44 million, Rush Street Interactive was next with $27 million and FanDuel (Valley Forge) was in there slugging with $18 million. Sports betting generated $42 million in revenue, of which $8 million was returned in promotions. FanDuel enjoyed a 36% market share, then came DraftKings with 25% and BetMGM with 11%, followed by Barstool at 7%. Hey, DraftKings, is overexposed Kevin Hart the best you can do for a pitchman? There isn’t a product Hart won’t shill on TV these days. BetMGM has an Oscar winner (Jamie Foxx) and you’ve got the star of Night School, one of the few movies of which we’ve walked out.

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Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (3)

Staying on the East Coast for a moment longer, Massachusetts bagged $92 million from casinos, flat with last year. Encore Boston Harbor was static at $58 million, while MGM Springfield nudged up a point to $22 million. Plainridge Park slipped 6%, cantering home with $12 million.

Louisiana leapt 15% upward from the previous August, an unexpected frisson of good news. The overall gross was $179.5 million, as visitation grew 18.5% despite slightly more conservative spending (-3%). Call it the “Hurricane Ida Effect,” as August 2021 was storm-impeded. Sports betting, however, continues to have a hard time catching on, with $10 million captured out of $128 million in handle. Top Pelican State regulator Ronny Jacobs made headlines by pouring cold water on the idea of a fourth casino in Baton Rouge. Well, he’s got a solid point. Even in a good month it’s a $20 million market and only L’Auberge Baton Rouge has been pulling its weight. Last month it rose 29.5% to $14 million, while Hollywood Baton Rouge slipped 4% to $4.5 million and Belle of Baton Rouge rocketed 18.5% … to $1 million.

Over in Lake Charles, the rising tide lifted all boats (and racinos), led by Golden Nugget‘s $27 million (+11%). It continues to be nip-and-tuck with L’Auberge du Lac ($26 million, +12.%), while Delta Downs chipped in $13.5 million, up 14.5%. Rural Boyd Gaming properties Amelia Belle ($3 million, +76%) and Evangeline Downs ($6 million, +3.5%) also benefited.

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Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (4)

New Orleans was Harrah’s territory, as the casino storm-surged 41.5% to $19 million. Also gaining big but far behind were Boomtown New Orleans ($9.5 million, +30%) and Treasure Chest ($7.5 million, +45%). Fair Grounds racino contributed $3.5 million (+26%). Virtually the only revenue declines were found in Shreveport/Bossier City, where Sam’s Town continues to spiral, down 3% to $3 million—presumably meaning it will find bottom soon—and Horseshoe Bossier City, plunging 14% to $11 million. Bally’s Corp. seems to be getting it turned around in Shreveport, up 4% to $7.5 million, while Margaritaville still runs away with Bossier City, good for $16 million and +20%. Boomtown Bossier bumped +1% to $4 million but Lousiana Downs was down 20% to $3 million.

In typically belated fashion, Illinois has coughed up July’s sports betting figures. The Land of Lincoln generated $46 million in revenue. Market rankings were unchanged. FanDuel led with $20 million, distantly followed by DraftKings’ $11 million (even owning a casino in the St. Louis area isn’t a game-changer) and BetRivers’ $5 million. Also earning were PointsBet ($4.5 million), Caesars and Barstool (tied with $2 million apiece).

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Last—but far from least—bravo to the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA for winning the championship of the league last night, setting the stage for a celebration like few Sin City has ever seen. The Aces came close to winning it all on previous occasions and have finally brought home the trophy, vindicating then-owner MGM Resorts International‘s decision to bring the team to the Las Vegas Strip. Indeed, it was a WNBA final between two casino-based teams: the Mandalay Bay-hosted Aces and the Connecticut Sun who call player-beloved Mohegan Sun home. Not only can Las Vegas really and truly call itself a “major league town” today, this WNBA series confers yet another patina of respectability on the gaming industry. The lovable, overachieving Golden Knights almost made it to the promised land first (and can’t be far behind the ladies) but this is the Aces’ moment in the spotlight. As for the 0-2 Las Vegas Raiders, the less said the better.

Atlantic City still surging; Aces win it all for Las Vegas (5)

Jottings: Just what upstate New York needs—another casino. Resorts World Hudson Valley opens in a former department store in Newburgh, further subdividing Genting’s audience. The company promises “a no-frills gaming venue” (1,200 VLTs). “It’s quick and easy to get to off of the infrastructure and roadways we have right outside of our doors, as opposed to the Resorts World Catskills, where it is a luxury weekend getaway,”is the official spin … First it was the site that had to be changed. Now it is the height of Churchill Downs‘ planned casino in Terre Haute that may have to be altered, as the Federal Aviation Administration has some issues … MGM Resorts International is not scrimping on the way out the door of Gold Strike Tunica. It’s invested $4 million into a new high-limit room. Kudos … Costs are spiraling at the expanding Las Vegas Convention Center. The administrative area is going to add $20 million to the tab. Given the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors’ Authority‘s history of featherbedding, it would have to be the executive offices that cause the overage … Guess that SJM Holdings purchase didn’t pan out. Genting Group skated in just under the wire, coveting one of Macao‘s six casino concessions. While it’s considered a long-shot bid, Genting may have an ace up its sleeve in that it specializes in theme parks and China‘s government wants to reinvent Macao in a more family friendly image.

Quote of the Day: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”—Queen Elizabeth II, whose funeral was held today.

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