Atlantic City Union President is Troubled by Casino Visitor Trends

Latest News

The February 2024 gaming revenue results released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement “confirms what those of us have been warning about over the past year- that attendance in our brick-and-mortar buildings is going in the wrong direction,” according to Donna DeCaprio, president of the Unite Here Local 54.

DeCaprio continued by saying, “Alarm bells should be ringing in Atlantic City and in Trenton.” 

The land-based casino industry is a key piece in the city’s economy of tourism. The Casino Association of New Jersey and the city’s largest casino workers union, which represents over 10,000 casino workers, have urged city and state officials to confront the issue at hand. 

“As lawmakers continue to proceed with the annual state budget process, representatives in the New Jersey Legislature must understand the perilous economic situation at hand for my members, and indeed all workers in Atlantic City,” DeCaprio writes. “Not only is the overall in-person revenue troubling — but the size of the declines at some of the individual properties portends some serious instability for thousands of workers. The legislators need to take this into consideration as they consider policies that could compound the downward trends.”

The Numbers Don’t Lie 

“It is incredibly troubling to see that six of the nine gaming properties have posted declines of casino-win compared to February 2023 and year-to-date compared to 2023,” DeCaprio said.

The report that was released on March 15 showed that Atlantic City’s nine land-based casinos produced $211.6 million in gross gaming revenue in February 2024, which is a 1.6% decrease from the same month in 2023. All the while, online gaming revenues saw $182.3 million in revenue level, which is a 28% increase from the same month in 2023, reported by the Press of Atlantic City (PAC). 

Profits from online gambling and sports betting must be divided up and shared with outside companies such as technology platforms and sports books, not just for casinos to keep, is what those opposed are arguing.

Lower Visitor Rates is Part of the Bigger Picture Problem

It has been reported that state lawmakers and casino officials are on the same page as DeCaprio. Mark Giannantonio, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, stated that DeCaprio’s observations were “spot on” and pointed out what the casino industry has been talking about for “quite some time.”

“This is not the time to enact laws, such as a full smoking ban, that will further erode customer visitation and revenues to our properties,” Giannatonio stated “It is time for the City of Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey, in its oversight capacity over the City, to address the issues that are preventing economic growth and develop solutions that will increase visitation to Atlantic City.” 

Giannantonio called upon city and state officials to get to the root cause of issues inhibiting the city’s growth and expansion. 

“Without safety, cleanliness, and lighting, the city will continue to lose tourists along with brick-and-mortar revenue,” said Senator Vince Polistina. “The city has never been in a more precarious situation than it is right now, given that many parts of the city look worse than they ever have, and the city has essentially bankrupted the CRDA.”

Polistina also noted that “alarm bells” should have been ringing for years now, “but some in the city choose to sleep right through them.”