Business Report: Jobless claims, Biden’s economic plan, casino revenues

2020 was a bad year for New Jersey’s casinos, but not for sports betting

There’s no slowdown in the number of New Jersey residents filing for first-time jobless benefits. In the latest week, nearly 22,000 residents filed for new claims, a 4% increase over the prior week. Nationally, new weekly unemployment claims jumped to their highest level since last August.

We’ll soon find out what President-elect Joe Biden has in mind to fix the economy. He will unveil his plan in a speech Thursday evening. Reuters reports that he will propose a $1.5 trillion stimulus package, which will include a commitment for $1,400 stimulus checks. Another potential item is more money for states. It’s something that Biden has talked about in the past. The president-elect is also expected to detail his plan to speed up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

With temporary closures and capacity restrictions in place at casinos, 2020 was a disappointing year. Atlantic City’s casinos closed out the year with a nearly 20% drop in revenue. The only casino that took in more money in 2020 compared to the previous year was the Golden Nugget. Several casinos suffered steep losses; revenues at Harrah’s, Caesars and Resorts tumbled more than 40% each.

Sports betting continues to do well though; more than $6 billion worth of bets were placed in New Jersey last year.