Atlantic City Casinos Suffer $112m Q2 Loss Due to Pandemic Closures

  • All Atlantic City casinos were shut for the entire second quarter because of COVID-19
  • Golden Nugget was the only profitable casino thanks to its online offering
  • Casinos could continue with their online gambling, sports betting operations to offset losses
  • The Borgata had the biggest deficit for the quarter, amounting to more than $40m
  • Casinos were ordered to close on March 16 and were unable to reopen until July 2
calculator with the word losses on screen laid on top of US dollar bills
Atlantic City casinos collectively suffered a $112m loss in Q2 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Casinos closed, sporting events canceled

Atlantic City casinos were hit hard as a result of COVID-19 closures during the second quarter of 2020. The sector registered a $112m gross operating loss as the city’s casinos remained shut in compliance with statewide pandemic restrictions. 

For the same period in 2019, casinos registered an operating profit of almost $160m. Net revenue for all Atlantic City casinos in Q2 2020 was $121.4m, a drop of almost 85% compared to last year.

Golden Nugget was the only profitable property

Of the nine casinos in Atlantic City, the Golden Nugget was the only profitable property. This was thanks to its online gambling operations generating a $3.1m return. Still, profit for the casino was down by almost 69% year-on-year.

Casino operators were able to continue with their online gambling and sports wagering offerings during the closure order, which helped to somewhat offset revenue loss. However, betting options were limited because of widespread sporting event cancellations. 

The hardest-hit properties

According to New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement figures made public on August 24, the Atlantic City casino with the worst second-quarter loss was the Borgata. It lost more than $40m, which compares to the $55m profit it made during the same period in 2019. The Borgata was the only casino that did not reopen on July 2, preferring to wait until July 26 to welcome back the general public.

Hard Rock had the second-largest loss with an $18.2m deficit, followed by Harrah’s $15.1m and Resorts $12.6m. Both the Tropicana and the Ocean Casino Resort suffered an $11.8m drop. Finally, Caesars and Bally’s experienced losses of $9.9m and $8.7m respectively.

While a casino relief bill gained traction in the legislature in June, it ultimately did not get sufficient support for approval. The measure pushed for temporary financial breaks such as gross gaming revenue tax cuts and fee waivers.

Meanwhile, the two online-only companies in the state of New Jersey were able to take advantage of customers transitioning to online gambling during the casino shutdowns. Caesars Interactive NJ made a $7.7m profit for the period, a year-on-year rise upwards of 54%. Resorts Digital’s profit was $5.7m, a more than 194% increase in comparison to the second quarter in 2019. 

Getting back to business

All Atlantic City casinos ceased operations on March 16 following a closure order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The properties were unable to reopen until July 2, despite other states resuming casino activity a lot sooner.

unable to reopen until July 2

State gaming authorities and operators are now focusing on getting patrons back into casinos while ensuring that the best health and safety protocols are in place. New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis said of the reopening preparations: “During this period, the casinos undertook an amazing effort and expense to prepare a safe environment for the return of employees and guests.”