The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported Atlantic City casinos’ operating profit of $135.4 million for the first quarter of 2023, a 14.8% decline compared to the same period last year.
Much of the difference can be attributed to a sharp drop in operating profit at the Borgata, usually the top revenue generator among the state’s nine casinos and two online platforms. The Borgata reported $22.8 million in operating profits for the first three months of the year, but that was down 50.3% from 2022 and enough to drop it behind Ocean Casino Resort for the top spot.
Ocean reported $23.6 million in operating profits, up 27.6% year-over-year, to claim first for the quarter. Hard Rock narrowly missed pipping Borgata for second, totaling close to $22.2 million as its quarterly figure dipped 17.5%.
Despite the decline in operating profits, there were two pieces of positive news, as net revenue climbed 4.6% to $756.6 million for the first quarter and hotel occupancy was 65.1%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points from the opening three months of 2022.
Increased costs eat into Borgata’s bottom line
Though the Borgata’s net revenue was up 14.7% year-to-year to $186.9 million for the first quarter, costs surged 40.3% higher to $164 million in the same period.
General and administrative costs were 65% higher at $85.2 million, while expenses for hotel rooms, food, and beverages were up 26.2% to $39.1 million. The Borgata, though, led all venues in net income with close to $11.9 million, up 19.6% compared to the first quarter of 2022.
Ocean Casino Resort had a 20% uptick in net revenue to $106.2 million, helped by a 16.9% increase in casino revenue to $58.9 million, but its expenses increased at a more reasonable percentage compared to the Borgata. Ocean’s general and administrative costs were up 10.5% to $32.1 million, and expenses for food, beverages, and hotel rooms climbed 28.1% to $27.5 million.
Hard Rock’s year-over-year decline was due mostly to a sharp drop in casino revenue, as the $59.1 million reported for the first quarter was off 25.5% compared to last year. That contributed to the $124.7 million in net revenue being 4.4% lower compared to 2022. Hard Rock’s expenses were nearly flat year-over-year, dipping slightly to $102.5 million.
Bally’s ekes out a quarterly profit
In terms of year-over-year improvement measured in dollars, Bally’s took top honors as the $88,000 in quarterly profit was an improvement of $6.9 million compared to 2022, when it posted a first-quarter loss of $6.8 million. The turnaround was fueled by a 46.7% jump in casino revenue to $26.6 million and a 29.8% increase in hotel rooms revenue to $10.2 million. Bally’s also had an 8.9% decline in general and administrative costs to $14.5 million, a decrease of roughly $1.4 million versus last year.
Resorts was the only venue to report a quarterly loss at minus-$284,000. Its casino revenue increased 3.4% ($818,000) to $24.8 million, but general and administrative costs increased by $1.3 million. Resorts’ digital property had a 5.9% rise in operating profits to just shy of $8 million.
The state’s other online platform, Caesars, saw operating profits tumble 13.2% to $6.8 million. Part of the overall year-over-year decline in revenue can also be attributed to Golden Nugget’s online platform surrendering its online license last May. It generated $6.7 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2022.
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