Ocean Casino Is Atlantic City’s Only Venue To Profit In Q3

In the third quarter of 2020, Ocean Casino Resort was the only Atlantic City gaming venue to post an annual operating profit increase, while the usually omnipotent Borgata only narrowly stayed away from a rare operating loss.

Figures released Monday by the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement Division (DGE) show that in the three months ended September 30, AC’s nine casinos (and its two online-only offshoots) generated net revenue of $629.3m down 32.3 percent from the same period last year. Revenue is down 44.4 percent to just less than $1.35b for the first nine months of 2020.

In the most recent period, the industry combined for an operating profit of just $150.5m, down 37.2 percent from Q3 2019. Although that’s an improvement on the $112 million loss posted by the casinos in Q2 2020, during which all their land-based activities were shut down because of COVID-19 and the market was forced to focus on its online casino and sports betting options.

Ocean Casino Resort (OCR) announced an operating profit of $24.4 million, up almost 139 percent year-on-year as the property ultimately put behind it its (re)opening costs for 2018. The closest any other casino came to reporting a net year-on-year gain apart from the two online-only operators was Bally’s AC, which saw its Q3 profit decrease by only 8.3 percent to $13 million.

All the other casinos, led by the Borgata, reported double-digit profit decreases, which fell 96.6 percent to a mere $2.35m. It should be noted that because of its frustration with the state’s ban on indoor dining and drinking, the Borg, which regularly tops all rivals for monthly profits, chose to delay its return from pandemic purgatory by three weeks.

During Q3, OCR benefited from a 97.2 percent hotel occupancy rate, a figure that defies the fact that the average room rate for OCR was nearly $246, around $87 higher than the quarter’s industry average. Caesars AC, which filled 91.8 percent of its rooms at a cost of just under $147, was OCR’s closest competitor.

The upheaval encountered by AC is mirrored in the stats of the DGE, which previously broke out distinct columns for non-gaming facilities. But as most of those choices have stayed on the no-go list after the restart of the pandemic and indoor drinking and dining (after 10 pm) has just returned to that list, there is nothing to compare with 2019.