Ocean Casino Resort is Atlantic City’s only profit gainer in Q3

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Ocean Casino Resort was the sole Atlantic City gaming venue to post an annual operating profit gain in the third quarter of 2020, while the normally omnipotent Borgata only narrowly staved off a rare operating loss.

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

The market combined for an operating profit of just $150.5m in the most recent quarter, down 37.2% from Q3 2019. However, that’s a damn sight better than the $112m loss the casinos reported in Q2 2020, during which all of their land-based operations were shut due to COVID-19 and the market was forced to rely on its online casino and sports betting options.

Ocean Casino Resort (OCR) posted an operating profit of $24.4m, up nearly 139% year-on-year as the property finally put its 2018 (re)opening costs behind it. Apart from the two online-only operators, the closest any other casino came to posting a net year-on-year improvement was Bally’s AC, which saw its Q3 profit decline only 8.3% to $13m.

All of the other casinos posted double-digit profit declines, led by the Borgata, which tumbled 96.6% to a mere $2.35m. It should be noted that the Borg, which routinely tops all rivals for monthly revenue, chose to delay its return from pandemic purgatory by three weeks due to its dissatisfaction with the state’s ban on indoor dining and drinking.

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

The upheaval that AC has undergone is reflected in the DGE’s stats, which previously broke out separate columns for non-gaming amenities. But since most of those options have remained on the no-go list since the pandemic restart – and indoor drinking and dining (after 10pm) just went back onto that list – there’s nothing to compare with 2019. And not in a good Prince/Sinéad way, neither. 

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