The casinos of Atlantic City have struggling for decades. Between increased competition from neighboring states and the city’s not-so-great reputation, creating revenue has always been hard on the shores of AC. But the coronavirus pandemic, and its accompanying shutdowns, have created a whole new brand of business hell for land-based casino gaming in New Jersey. And in this new gambling hellscape, casino revenue was down 80 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year.
According to a recent report from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Atlantic City’s nine licensed casinos saw gross gaming profits of just $114 million in 2020. That’s a substantial drop from 2019 when they clocked in $594 million in gross gaming profits. But that’s what being shut down completely for three and a half months will do to your bottom line.
The question now is what kind of recovery can the casinos of Atlantic City expect in 2021? In a statement reported on by USA Today, James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission expressed optimism saying, “Atlantic City and its casinos endured their most challenging year in history.”
“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,” he added.
The big question now is how Atlantic City’s land-based casinos can draw in customers who are either used to going to casinos in their home states, such as Pennsylvania, or have become completely accustomed to gambling online during the pandemic.