Coronavirus closures send Atlantic City casino profits down 65%

Sunday 24th May 2020

Atlantic City's casinos saw their gross operating profits fall by more than 65% in the first quarter of this year, according to figures released Friday.

The statistics cover only the first two weeks of casino closures due to the coronavirus outbreak; second-quarter earnings are sure to be worse because the casinos have been shut all of April and, so far, May, with no reopening date scheduled.

The figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show the nine casinos collectively posted gross operating profits of $29.6 million in the first three months of this year, down from $85.6 million in the same period last year.

The big decline is "not surprising, given that most casinos continued to pay employees for two weeks after the shutdown," said Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of a gambling studies institute at Stockton University outside Atlantic City. "With only internet gaming and a small number of sports betting revenue to offset payroll expenses, a significant decrease was inevitable."

Three casinos swung from a first-quarter profit last year to a first-quarter loss this year. Bally's went from a $2.8 million profit in 2019 to a loss of over $8 million this year; Caesars went from a $10.8 million profit to a $593,000 loss, and Resorts went from a $3 million profit to a $3.4 million loss.

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