Tough Times for Atlantic City
October 14, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — The Philadelphia Inquirer reports dismal land gambling news from Atlantic City, with revenues in September 2008 off 15.1 percent — the gambling city's largest monthly decline in gaming revenue since the seaside resort opened its first casino in 1978.
Figures released yesterday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission confirmed the worst fears of operators, attributing the losses to slots competition from Pennsylvania casinos, a split Labor Day weekend, and a tropical storm. The result was a decline of 15.1 percent when compared to revenues in September 2007. Casinos took in $356 million, compared with $419.4 million a year ago.
All 11 Atlantic City gambling halls reported revenue decreases, from a 5.0 percent drop at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to 32.5 percent at Resorts.
Dan Heneghan, spokesman for the state gaming commission, which regulates the Atlantic City gambling market, said that three-day holiday weekends were generally lucrative for the city's casino industry and that Labor Day weekend is one of the biggest for Atlantic City.
This year, Saturday and Sunday of the Labor Day weekend fell in August — which explained why that month had a slight uptick in revenue compared with August 2007. Only Monday, Labor Day, was counted in September's revenue, giving Atlantic City four instead of the usual five weekends.
Another factor was Tropical Storm Hanna, which hit the East Coast over the September 6-7 weekend and "significantly hurt business on that weekend," Heneghan said.
Seven slots parlors in Pennsylvania exacerbated the situation, taking a noticeable slice of AC's business by generating $133.1 million in gross slots revenue in September, of which the state takes a 55 percent cut. The tax in New Jersey on gross gambling revenue is 9.25 percent. Top earner in Pennsylvania was the Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, which took in $26.9 million.