A winning month for New Jersey gambling revenue

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Two new Atlantic City casinos and the debut of legalized sports betting pushed New Jersey's July gambling revenues up 12.8% year over year.

The Garden State’s total gaming revenue totaled $302 million in July compared to $267.9 million a year ago, according to data released this week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Resort Casino, which opened in late June, generated combined revenues of $49.8 million. Hard Rock was Atlantic City’s third most profitable casino with $32.7 million of gambling revenue.

“Clearly the new casinos have added competition and it has been a good thing for visitors,” James T. Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said in a statement. “Market adjustments were expected and will continue as each casino works to attract new customers and build their market share.”

Prior to the opening of Hard Rock and Ocean Resort, Atlantic City’s seven existing casinos reported an 11.7% drop in first quarter profits compared to 2017. Atlantic City casinos had a 6.3% revenue rise in June.

Sports betting created $3.8 million in revenue during July. It began June 14 after state lawmakers fast-tracked legislation in the wake of a May Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 26-year-old federal ban. The wagering numbers factored in three facilities that were set up for the entire month at Borgata, Ocean Resort and Monmouth Park. Bally’s Atlantic City and the Meadowlands Racetrack opened sports betting lounges later in July.

The state of New Jersey collected $23.4 million in gambling taxes in July reflecting a 12.5% increase from a year ago. This was based on an 8% tax rate on casino gross revenue, 15% on internet gambling gross revenue and 8.5% on casino and racetrack sports wagering gross revenue.

New Jersey's long record of structural budget deficits contributed to the state’s bond ratings dipping to the second lowest among U.S. states. The state is rated A3 by Moody’s Investors Service, A-minus by S&P Global Ratings and A by Fitch Ratings and Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

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