Virus closures send Atlantic City casinos to $112M Q2 loss

Business

A woman plays a slot machine at the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City N.J. on July 2, 2020. Figures released Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, by New Jersey gambling regulators show Atlantic City’s casinos lost $112 million in the second quarter of 2020 when all nine casinos were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, compared to a profit of nearly $160 million in the second quarter of 2019. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak sent Atlantic City’s casinos plunging to a $112 million second quarter gross operating loss as the gambling houses remained closed for the entire three-month period, according to figures released Monday by state gambling regulators.

That compares with an operating profit of nearly $160 million in the second quarter of last year.

Only one of the nine casinos — the Golden Nugget — reported an operating profit for the quarter, and that was helped by the market-leading internet gambling operation. The casino made $3.1 million, down nearly 69% from a year earlier when it made over $10 million.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the casinos closed on March 16, and did not allow them to begin reopening until July 2. That more than covers the entire second quarter, the months of April, May and June.

The casinos offered online gambling and sports betting during the quarter, which provided them some revenue during the period their physical buildings were shuttered. The nine casinos collectively reported $121.4 million in net revenue, down nearly 85% from the second quarter of 2019.

The individual casinos, as well as gambling regulators, dismissed the numbers as not comparable to last year, when the industry was in full swing. Rather, they concentrated on efforts to convince customers the reopened casinos are clean and safe.

“During this period, the casinos undertook an amazing effort and expense to prepare a safe environment for the return of employees and guests,” said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “That critical investment enabled the casinos to begin welcoming back visitors with appropriate limits in July, and started Atlantic City on the road to recovery.”

“This closure was a setback to Ocean’s momentum gained through February 2020,” said Terry Glebocki, CEO of the Ocean Casino Resort. “We want to thank our employees who worked tirelessly to prepare us for reopening and are happy to have two-thirds of our workforce back in the building.”

Ocean had an $11.8 million loss, compared to a $1.2 million loss in the second quarter of last year.

The Borgata had the biggest loss at more than $40 million for the quarter, compared to a $55 million profit in the second quarter of last year.

Hard Rock had a loss of $18.2 million, compared to a profit of $11.2 million a year ago; Harrah’s had a $15.1 million loss, compared to a $23 million profit a year ago; Resorts had a $12.6 million loss, compared to a $5.3 million profit a year ago; and Tropicana had an $11.8 million loss, compared to a $22.6 million profit last year.

Caesars had a $9.9 million loss, compared to a profit of $16.3 million a year ago, and Bally’s had a $8.7 million loss, compared to a $9.3 million profit a year ago.

The shutdown of the physical casinos provided an opportunity for online gambling operations, including the state’s two internet-only entities. Caesars Interactive NJ earned $7.7 million in the second quarter, up more than 54% from a year earlier, and Resorts Digital posted a profit of $5.7 million, up more than 194% from a year earlier.

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