Harrah’s and Borgata are the Two Best Atlantic City Casinos for Slot Players

Every month the casinos in Atlantic City are required to submit various revenue statistics to the state of New Jersey. One of those stats is the percentage of slot play that the casino wins. We dug into the slot win data provided by the casinos to determine which AC casinos, on average, have the best slots for gamblers.

The data we used for this study is simply the 100.0% – the slot win percentage for the casinos. For example, if a casino recorded a 9.0% slot win for the month then the slot win for the gamblers was 100.0% – 9.0%, or 91.0%.

We looked at the slot wins for the last twelve months of available data, or November 2017 through October 2018. While the spread between the highest payout rate and the lowest may not at first seem huge, when you consider the tens of millions of dollars that are bet in the slot machines each month the payout to gamblers really adds up.


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Here’s a look at the slot machine payout rates for each Atlantic City casino over the past year:

To help clarify which AC casino has the best slots for gamblers we then ranked each casino based on the slot payout for each of the last twelve months. The casino with a rank of one had the highest slot payout to customers during the month. As you will see below, the outcome is amazing. Either Harrah’s and Borgata had the best (lowest) payout rate rank EVERY month over the last year. Harrah’s had the best payout for 7 months and Borgata for 6 months (Harrah’s and Borgata were tied in June 2018).

Note that Hard Rock and Ocean Resort only have rankings since they opened their doors in June.

Taking things one step further, we then averaged the ranks over the last twelve months for each AC casino. Harrah’s and Borgata obviously had the best (lowest) average twelve month ranks.

Besides Harrah’s and Borgata having the best payout rate ranks in Atlantic City, a few other interesting things jump out after looking at this data. The two other Caesars Entertainment casinos in town, besides Harrah’s, came in third and fourth. Caesars and Bally’s, while never claiming the number one or two spot on slot payout rate ranks, were significantly better than most other casinos in town.

Another interesting observation is that the two newcomers in town were dead last in terms of slot payouts to gamblers. Hard Rock’s average slot payout rank since it opened in May was 7.2, placing it just ahead of Ocean Resort which had the worst slot payout rank in Atlantic City.

So, does this mean that if you play slots at Borgata or Harrah’s that you will win? Of course not! The payout varies from machine to machine, and even from denomination to denomination. Unfortunately, we do not have more granular data to analyze, but this study does point to the casinos that are offering the best overall slot payouts in town.

How Much Do Casinos Win on a Square Foot Basis?

The Short Take:

  • We took a look at each Atlantic City casinos’ total wins per square foot for September 2018
  • Borgata, arguably the city’s top casino, rang up the most wins per square foot in September with $439.34 per square foot
  • Surprisingly, the city’s smallest casino, the Golden Nugget, came in second with $242.55 wins per square foot
  • The casino with the smallest win per square foot was Bally’s, clocking just $131.42 per square foot.

While they don’t rival some of the largest Vegas casinos, Atlantic City casinos are massive.  When you walk in all you can see are rows of slots and clusters of table game pits.  The casino floor seems to go on forever.

Retail stores like Macy’s and the Home Depot report a statistic: sales per square foot, but casinos do not report a similar measure.  So, we decided to calculate the total casino wins per square foot.  The math is pretty simple.  Take the reported total casino wins and divide that by the size of the casino.  Both of these numbers are reported by the Atlantic City casinos to the New Jersey government.

First, let’s look at the size of each AC casino.  Harrah’s is the largest casino in terms of casino square footage, coming in at 156,284 square feet.  Borgata comes in second with 136,771 square feet.  Five casinos make up the middle of the pack in terms of square footage: Ocean Resort, Tropicana, Bally’s, Hard Rock and Caesars.  These five casinos are all in the 115,000 – 130,000 square foot range. The two smallest casinos in the Atlantic City market are Resorts at 82,877 square feet and the Golden Nugget at 78,464 square feet.

Here’s a look at the nine current Atlantic City casinos’ total casino floor square footage:

 

Looking at this data another way, Harrah’s controls about 14% of the total casino square footage in the Atlantic City market, followed by Borgata with about 13%.  On the opposite end, Resorts has 8% and the Golden Nugget has 7% of the total AC casino space.

 

Now let’s look at how much each casino wins per square foot.  As we mentioned earlier, we took the total casino wins for the month of September and divided it by the casino square footage.

Borgata blows every other casino away in terms of wins per square foot, with over $439 in wins for every foot of casino space.  The next closest is the smallest casino in town – the Golden Nugget.  While the Nugget’s win per square foot of $242 is just a bit more than half that of Borgata’s, it still beats seven other casinos.

Tropicana and Caesars are next on the list, and the only other two casinos above the $200 mark.  Resorts and Harrah’s are both in the mid-$180’s per square foot.  As expected, if you read our earlier article on total casino win rates for the Atlantic City casinos, Bally’s is dead last on the list, and by a lot.  It’s total win per square foot is only 131.41, or less than 30% of the Borgata’s.

 

While this information may not be particularly actionable for either gamblers or investors, it is still really interesting to see the disparity of the win per square foot between some of the casinos in AC.  The smallest casino, the Golden Nugget, came in second for wins per square foot and the largest, Harrah’s was second to last.  The Nugget is definitely making great use of every foot of its casino floor.

Golden Nugget Had Biggest June Internet Gaming Winning in NJ


The New Jersey internet gaming stats for June 2017 are out, and the Golden Nugget was the runaway winner.

In June, the Golden Nugget, owned privately by Landry’s, had total internet gambling wins of $5,576,526, or 27.6% of the total New Jersey internet winnings.  This was close to two million more than its nearest rival – the Borgata, owned by MGM, which brought in $3,887,240, or 19.2% of the state’s internet winnings, in June. In all, the five AC properties that run internet gambling in New Jersey had internet winnings of $20,233,399.



Here’s a rundown of each casino’s internet winnings for June 2017:

  • Golden Nugget: $5,576,526 (27.6% of NJ internet winnings)
  • Borgata (MGM): $3,887,240 (19.2% of total)
  • Resorts: $3,678,622 (18.2% of total)
  • Caesars (CZR): $3,611,618 (17.8% of total)
  • Tropicana (TPCA): $3,479,393 (17.2% of total)
  • TOTAL: $20,233,399

Not only did the Nugget claim victory in the race for total internet winnings, it blew out the competition in terms of year-over-year winnings growth.  Compared to June 2016, the Golden Nugget’s June 2017 internet winnings represent a massive 57.8% increase.  The next closest year-over-year increase in internet gambling winnings was Resorts at 36.1%. Overall, New Jersey internet gambling winnings increased by 23.4% in June 2017 vs June 2016.

Here’s the year-over-year growth rate for internet gambling winnings in New Jersey:

  • Golden Nugget: 57.8%
  • Resorts: 36.1%
  • Caesars: 18.8%
  • Tropicana: 4.0%
  • Borgata: 2.9%
  • TOTAL: 23.4%

Each AC casino offers internet gambling to people physically located in-state through several websites.  In June the following websites offered casino gambling in New Jersey:


  • Operated by Borgata
    • BorgataCasino.com
    • BorgataPoker.com
    • NJPartyPoker.com
    • PalaCasino.com
  • Operated by Caesars
    • CaesarsCasino.com
    • HarrahsCasino.com
    • WSOP.com
    • 888.com
  • Operated by Golden Nugget
    • GoldenNuggetCasino.com
    • BetFairCasino.com
    • PlaySugarHouse.com
  • Operated by Resorts
    • ResortsCasino.com
    • MoheganSunCasino.com
    • PokerStarsNJ.com
  • Operated by Tropicana
    • Tropicana.com
    • Virgin.com

Atlantic City Total Casino Winnings Flat But Most Casinos Continue to Benefit From Taj Closing

The June 2017 casino revenue reports show that total casino winnings in Atlantic City were virtually flat in June 2017 versus a year ago. In June, the seven operating casinos pulled in winnings of $197,488,784. This is a -0.003% decrease from June 2016 when AC casinos pulled in $197,493,766.

While the flat casino winnings may be disappointing, most casinos saw significant year-over-year increases as a result of the closing of the Taj Mahal. The June 2016 winnings include winnings at the Taj, and most casinos benefited by that casinos closing.



The Tropicana produced the largest total winnings growth rate at 20.4%, followed by the Golden Nugget with a 14.7% year-over-year growth rate. The only casino to post a negative growth rate in June was Caesars. Caesars total winning dropped 1.9% from a year ago.

The table below outlines the year-over-year growth rates of total winnings of the seven current AC casinos.

 

As you can see, it has been a pretty good year so far for the remaining Atlantic City casinos.  All of the casinos have been benefiting from the closing of the Taj and other casinos.  The notable winner is the Trop which has seen double digit growth rates in its casino winnings.  While the individual casinos are posting gains pretty consistently every month, the casino winnings for the entire AC casino market has been a mixed bag.  As you can see in the table above, since January, the total AC winnings growth rate has been positive 3 months (January, March and May), negative 2 months (February and April) and flat one month (June).

While the Tropicana can boast that it had the largest winnings growth rate, the Borgata still remains the most profitable Atlantic City casino based on total casino winnings.  In June 2017 the Borgata won $59,835,792 in its casino.  The next closest casino was Harrah’s which won $31,647,463.  Here is the full list of casino total winnings for June 2017:



Borgata: $59,835,792

Harrah’s: $31,647,463

Tropicana: $28,459,162

Caesars: $24,688,410

Bally’s: $18,156,634

Golden Nugget: $18,017,766

Resorts: $16,683,557

ALL CASINOS: $197,488,784

With the peak summer season upon use, it will be interesting to see if Atlantic City casinos can ramp up their casino winnings and build momentum before new pressures arise from the pending opening of the Hard Rock and possible reopening of the Revel.

Atlantic City Slot Wins Flat in June But Taj Closing Boosts All Casinos

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released the June 2017 casino revenue reports and the results regarding slot machine wins is positive for all Atlantic City casinos.

Year Over Year Slot Win Growth

While the total slot wins in June were amazingly close to flat versus June 2016 for all Atlantic City casinos (142,968,402 for June 2017 vs 142,948,427 for June 2016), all casinos posted positive year over year slot win growth rates.  How can this be?  The simple answer is that in June 2016 Trump Taj Mahal was still in business.  Effectively, the remaining seven AC casinos split the Taj’s approximately $12 million monthly slot win.

The clear winner of the Taj shutdown is the Tropicana, based on slot wins.  The Trop’s year over year slot win increased a remarkable 21.2%.  The next biggest slot win growth rates belong to the Golden Nugget at 14.7% and Resorts at 10.4%.  While all casinos posted positive year over year slot win growth rates, Borgata was in last place at 4.8%.  A case can be made that Borgata, arguably the highest-end casino in Atlantic City, benefited from the closing of the Taj the least.



The chart and table below show the year over year slot win growth rates for each of the last six months for all of the AC casinos still open, plus the total slot win growth rate for all casinos.

Year Over Year Slot Win Growth Rates for Atlantic City Casinos

As you can see, the total Atlantic City slot win growth rates have been a mixed bag since the beginning of 2017.  While the growth rates for slot wins increased during the first three months, the growth rate turned negative in April and May and was essentially flat in June.

Absolute Slot Wins

While the Tropicana had the largest year over year percentage growth rate for slot wins, Borgata continues to have the largest absolute dollar for slot wins.  In June 2017 Borgata had slot wins of over $41.0 million.  Its next closest AC rival was the Trop at $23.9million, followed closely by Harrah’s at nearly $22.0 million.  The table below shows the total slot win for each of the last twelve months for the AC casinos currently in business.

 



What will the reopening of the Taj as a Hard Rock property and the (hopeful) reopening of the Revel/Ten do to the slot business of the existing casinos?  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned!