Atlantic City Casinos Report $310M Profit Over Summer After Most COVID Restrictions End

Profits at Atlantic City's nine casinos more than doubled in the third quarter of this year after New Jersey lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions in May, the Associated Press reported.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the casinos showed a collective gross operating profit of $310 million from July to September. Gross operating profit refers to the earnings before interest, taxes and other expenses.

This year's third-quarter gross operating profit is over twice the amount in 2020, which was $151 million. However, because the casinos were still operating under COVID capacity restrictions, James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, told AP that the results are not comparable.

But even when Plousis compared the profit to the third quarter of 2019, the casinos still did almost 30 percent better this year than before the pandemic.

"Through efficiencies, every operator posted a profit in the third quarter, a great accomplishment coming out of an extremely challenging period," Plousis said in a statement. "Atlantic City's recovery is gaining momentum and is on track for an impressive year."

The report also found that Atlantic City's casino occupancy rate this quarter was just over 81 percent. Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino had the highest rates, with both over 96 percent.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos
Atlantic City's casinos made more money in the third quarter of 2021 than pre-pandemic in the third quarter of 2019. Above, Bally's, Ocean Resort and Hard Rock Casino are illuminated at dusk despite being shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling industry, said the casinos have been making do with fewer workers "by operating lean."

"So far it seems operators have been able to successfully balance the currently reduced labor supply with growing consumer demand for resort amenities including lodging," she said. "That does raise the question of the potential impact on future employment in the casinos, and if some currently unfilled jobs might ultimately be eliminated."

The Borgata had the highest operating profit at $57.2 million, up from $2.3 million a year earlier. Tropicana's profit was $48 million, up from $18.2 million; Hard Rock had a $46 million profit, up from nearly $21 million; Harrah's had a profit of nearly $44 million, up from $19.3 million; and the Ocean casino had a $37 million profit, up from $24 million.

Caesars had a $27.6 million profit, up from $17.5 million; Resorts had a $16.1 million profit, up from $7.7 million; and Golden Nugget had a $14.3 million profit, up from $7 million.

Bally's posted a $2 million operating profit in the third quarter of this year, compared with a $13 million profit last year when it was still owned by Caesars Entertainment. The casino is now owned by Rhode Island-based Bally's Corp.

"We are pleased that the north end of the Atlantic City Boardwalk — 'North Beach' — continues to lead the market, with Hard Rock Atlantic City, Ocean Casino Resort and Resorts showing the majority of the increase in comparison to 2019," said Joe Lupo, Hard Rock's president.

Among internet-only entities, Golden Nugget Online Gaming had a profit of just over $9 million, down from $9.4 million a year earlier. Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey had a profit of nearly $5 million, up from $4.8 million, and Resorts Digital's profit was $3.8 million, down from $6 million in the third quarter last year.

In terms of hotel occupancy, Ocean had the highest average room price at $331, while Resorts had the least expensive at nearly $148.

Ocean and Hard Rock had the highest occupancy rate for the quarter at more than 96 percent; Caesars was over 93 percent full. Golden Nugget had the lowest occupancy rate at 64 percent.

woman, gambling, Atlantic City
Atlantic City casinos more than doubled their gross operating profit in the third quarter of this year to over $310 million, compared with the same period a year ago, when coronavirus operating restrictions were in place, according to figures released on November 22, 2021, by New Jersey regulators. Above, a gambler playing a slot machine at Bally's casino in Atlantic City on June 23, 2021. Wayne Parry/AP Photo