Atlantic City casino revenues fall 11%

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City’s casinos took in 11 percent less from gamblers in July than they did a year ago.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the 11 casinos won $274 million in July, compared with $297.1 million in July 2013. That includes $10 million in Internet gambling revenue, which was up by about $500,000 from June.

The numbers were released a day after Revel, the city’s newest casino, announced it will shut down after just over two years of operation as Atlantic City’s casino market undergoes a rapid, unprecedented contraction. It started the year with 12 casinos, but will have eight before fall.

In a note to investors Wednesday, Wall Street agency Fitch Ratings said Revel’s closure “illustrates the depth of distress for the Atlantic City gaming market.”

The Showboat is set to close on Aug. 31, followed by Revel on Sept. 10, and Trump Plaza six days later. The Atlantic Club closed in January.

When the July revenue numbers are adjusted to exclude the Atlantic Club, the year-over-year decline is 6.6 percent.

Revel posted the biggest decline, down more than 36 percent to $14.8 million. It had warned in June that it might have to shut down if a buyer could not be found in bankruptcy court.

Trump Plaza was down 34 percent to $5.3 million, and the Showboat was down more than 19 percent to $15 million.

The Golden Nugget posted the biggest increase, up 40.5 percent to $18.2 million. The Tropicana was up more than 34 percent to $27.7 million.

So far in 2014, the casinos have taken in $1.55 billion. That would have put Atlantic City on track to reverse a seven-year revenue decline by the end of the year, boosted by Internet gambling. But the impending closures of four casinos will prevent that.

Analysts say that despite the pain of losing millions in revenue and nearly 8,000 casino jobs, the spate of closings should help the remaining eight casinos do better with less competition.

The Internet gambling market continued to be dominated by the Borgata, at nearly $3.2 million for the month, and Caesars Interactive, close behind at $2.7 million. The Tropicana continues to ramp up its online performance, taking in more than $1.9 million.

For the first seven months of the year, Internet gambling in New Jersey has taken in $73.1 million. It began in late November last year.

Matt Levinson, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission, said online gambling has helped the 11 casinos that were open in July 2014 and 2013 increase their revenue by 2 percent.

“There are also clear signs that Atlantic City continues to transform itself into a destination that offers much more than just casinos,” he said.

That message will be hammered home in full-page print ads starting Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, the Star-Ledger of Newark, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, placed by The Atlantic City Alliance, the marketing arm of the resort.

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