AC casinos down 10 percent in January

February 11, 2008 2:05:22 PM PST
For more than a year now, things have been bad at Atlantic City's casinos, which are watching slots parlors in other states steal their some of their most profitable customers. But January was so bad that for the first time since gambling halls in Pennsylvania and New York debuted a year ago, all 11 Atlantic City casinos reported a revenue decline. Monthly revenue was down 10 percent, marking the 12th month out of the last 13 that revenues have fallen.

Last year was the first in the 30-year history of Atlantic City casino gambling that revenues decreased from the previous year.

"Wintertime for the day-tripper is significantly more difficult for us when they have a choice in Pennsylvania or New York," said Carlos Tolosa, eastern division president of Harrah's Entertainment, which runs four casinos here. "They want to stay closer to home."

How bad was the latest report?

Five casinos reported double-digit declines, including two - the Tropicana Casino Resort and Trump Marina Hotel Casino - that each fell 21.1 percent.

The Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, which recently mothballed a $1 billion expansion plan, was down 17 percent, and its sister property, Resorts Atlantic City was down 14.3 percent.

The Showboat Hotel Casino was down 12.6 percent, Caesars Atlantic City fell 9.1 percent, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was down 7.8 percent, Bally's Atlantic City fell 7.5 percent, and Harrah's Atlantic City was down 7.3 percent.

Tolosa said hundreds of hotel rooms at Bally's and Caesars are temporarily unavailable due to renovations, which contributed to declines at those properties. The Bally's rooms will be done by the end of March, while the Caesars rooms won't be ready for occupancy again until Memorial Day weekend, he said.

Even the market leader, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was down 3.9 percent despite taking in nearly $61 million, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was down 0.8 percent.

All told, the casinos took in $355 million in January. Slot revenue declined by 13.9 percent to $234.2 million, and table games, which had largely held their own during last year's slump, were down 1.5 percent at $120.8 million.

Revenue is the amount of money won from gamblers; it is not profit.

The losing streak started in January 2007 when the impact of the new slots parlors in the Philadelphia suburbs hit. Since then, additional slot parlors in Pennsylvania and New York have steadily siphoned slots players who previously had no closer option to gamble than Atlantic City.

But Tolosa remains optimistic Atlantic City's losing streak will end soon. He noted that expansion projects at three casinos - Harrah's, the Borgata, and the Taj Mahal - will all be completed this year, adding thousands more rooms to the market.

---


Load Comments