August another bad month for AC casinos

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - September 10, 2009 But the dog days of August added up to another dismal month here, as revenue declined 16.3 percent from a year ago.

In a month that is traditionally one of the best for seaside resorts, all 11 casinos reported declines, ranging from 6.9 percent at the Tropicana Casino and Resort, to nearly 30 percent at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

The casinos won $391.7 million in August. Slots brought in $276.1 million, down 14.6 percent, while table games brought in an additional $115.6 million, down 20.3 percent.

Ironically, the best performers last month were casinos that have struggled lately. The Tropicana is awaiting completion of a cut-rate bankruptcy court sale to a group led by billionaire Carl Icahn, which should close by the end of the year.

Resorts Atlantic City, which is seeking state approval to hand over ownership of its casino to its lenders because it can no longer pay its mortgage, was down just 7.8 percent in August.

A rare double-digit decline occurred at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the traditional market leader, which was down 11.2 percent. The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was down 12.5 percent in August, but is still having the best year of any Atlantic City casino, down just 4 percent for all of 2009 so far.

The Showboat Casino Hotel was down 12.6 percent, Trump Marina Hotel Casino was down 15.3 percent, and Bally's Atlantic City was down 18.6 percent.

Harrah's Atlantic City was down 19.2 percent, and the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, which also stopped paying its own mortgage in July, was down 19.8 percent.

Atlantic City is now in its third straight year of falling revenues due to the recession and out-of-state competition.

For the first eight months of the year, revenue is down 15.1 percent here, to $2.7 billion.

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