After experiencing a lucrative 2017 thanks to a 22.5% increase year-on-year in aggregated annual gross operating profit to over $723.2 million, the next twelve months could prove disappointing for the seven large casinos in Atlantic City.

According to a Wednesday report from The Press of Atlantic City newspaper citing official New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement figures, the first three months of this year saw casinos in the resort city report an 11.7% year-on-year decline in aggregated gross operating profit to $123.6 million.

The newspaper reported that first-quarter hotel occupancy rates and third-party business sales from Atlantic City’s casinos also dropped when compared to the same three-month period last year by 3.2% and 4% respectively.

Despite the lower figures, James Plousis, Chairman for the New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman, reportedly told The Press of Atlantic City that he remains optimistic about the future of Atlantic City’s casinos due to the looming legalization of sportsbetting as well as the imminent opening of the Ocean Resort Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City.

“Those three factors will enable the industry to draw new customers to see new casinos, try new forms of wagering, taste new restaurants and enjoy new entertainment,” Plousis reportedly told the newspaper.

Painting an even rosier picture, The Press of Atlantic City cited Rummy Pandit, Executive Director for the Lloyd D Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at nearby Stockton University, as noting that the average first-quarter rate for a hotel room in Atlantic City had risen by over 17% year-on-year to $121.47. The academic moreover reportedly explained that median revenues per room for the first three months of 2018 had swelled by around 13% to hit $94.

“These are some good indicators that the market is strong,” Pandit reportedly told the newspaper. “The market is willing to pay a higher rate during specific periods of time.”

The Press of Atlantic City reported that the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa topped the list in terms of Atlantic City’s highest grossing casinos during the first quarter. The venue run by MGM Resorts International purportedly saw its three-month profit top $45 million although this represented a 27.1% decline when compared with the same period last year.

Caesars Atlantic City, which is one of a trio of Atlantic City venues run by Las Vegas-headquartered Caesars Entertainment Corporation, reportedly experienced the biggest year-on-year decline in first-quarter gross operating profit as its tally fell by almost 38% to only $12.6 million.

However, the newspaper reported that the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which is owned by Landry’s Incorporated, had experienced a 61.5% boost year-on-year in its first-quarter gross operating profit to around $10 million thanks in large part to its dominance online.