Atlantic City casinos hit hard last year from COVID-19 issues
By Bob Garcia
Atlantic City gaming revenue declined 80% last year over the prior year’s figures
There is no doubt that Atlantic City casinos were among the hardest hit nationally after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year alone, overall revenues dropped by more than 80%, according to a report by New Jersey gaming regulators.
Despite the drop, most casinos turned in some profit, but not as extravagant as in previous years. In 2020, the city’s nine casinos reported a total of $117.5 million in gross operating profit (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and other expenses) collectively, which is nowhere near the $594 million that was collected in 2019. Of course, the big difference between these years is the impact caused by the coronavirus, as this pandemic caused many casinos to be forced to close for more than three months, and even when they reopened, their operations were strictly limited. Gross operating profit is considered a widely accepted measure of profitability in the Atlantic City casino industry.
James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said, “Atlantic City and its casinos endured their most challenging year in history. Even after being allowed to reopen in July, the casinos’ earnings were limited by travel restrictions, limited amenities, and canceled entertainment. Yet, through responsible management, the casinos proved that in-person gaming could happen safely. As tourists return to the shore, they can have every confidence Atlantic City is safe for the summer.”
Although several casinos were able to report positive winnings last year, those amounts were far from what was desired. There is hope that, as the pandemic fades and the vaccination process continues, more casinos will come forward to return to normalcy with respect to their usual winnings.