AC casino revenues edge up in Aug.

September 10, 2008 11:48:49 AM PDT
This seaside gambling resort was counting on a strong August to help it avoid posting a second straight year of declining revenues. It didn't get what it wanted.

Despite a fifth weekend and gorgeous weather for most of what is usually one of the strongest months of the year for Atlantic City casinos, revenue inched up less than 1 percent over August 2007.

The 0.7 increase, to $468.3 million, was almost solely attributable to the calendar: there were 10 weekend days in August 2008 and only eight in 2007.

Slot machine revenue was virtually unchanged from a year ago at $323.4 million. Table games revenue was $145 million, an increase of 2.3 percent.

But for the first eight months of the year, the numbers continue to be depressing. So far, the casinos have taken in $3.2 billion, down 5.2 percent from the same period in 2007. Revenue from slot machines is down 6.8 percent, and revenue from table games is down 1.3 percent.

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City had the best month, posting a 19.1 percent increase, followed by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which was up 10 percent. Caesars Atlantic City was up 4.1 percent, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was up 2.4 percent and the Showboat Casino Hotel was up 1.3 percent.

The Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort had the worst month, declining 21.6 percent, followed by its sister property, Resorts Atlantic City, which was down 12.3 percent.

Trump Marina Hotel Casino, which is in the process of being sold to a New York developer, was down 11 percent for the month, Bally's Atlantic City was down 4.9 percent and the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which also is for sale, was down 4.5 percent. The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which will debut its new second hotel tower next week, was down 0.6 percent.

It now appears all but certain that Atlantic City will see a second straight year of declining revenues. Last year's 5.7 percent falloff was the first in the 30-year history of legalized gambling here.

The casinos typically count on strong summer seasons to bolster revenues. But June was down 11 percent and July was down 6.6 percent. It would have taken far more than an anemic 0.7 percent increase in August to give the resort any hope of ending the year with an increase.

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