Pennsylvania has big tables, Atlantic City has unstable(s)

Pennsylvania-Tables-Atlantic-CityEver since Pennsylvania’s casinos introduced table games in July, the numbers have tracked up, up and away. Gross table games revenues for the month of September were $36.8m, an increase of 6.5% over August’s $34.5m. Slots did even better, taking in $186.3m, an increase of 7.8% from the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile, over in Atlantic City, which used to be able to count on busloads of Pennsylvania seniors to pad their casinos’ bottom line, the phrase ‘insult to injury’ is being bandied about. New Jersey gaming regulators have announced they will be submitting three casinos – Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, Resorts Atlantic City and Trump Marina Hotel Casino – to ‘financial stability’ tests.

So far this year, Resorts has posted an operating loss of $10.8m, the Hilton has lost $14.2m, and the Trump Marina is down $3.7m. All three facilities are struggling under heavy debt loads. At this point, nobody’s talking about revoking these facilities’ licenses, but the Casino Control Commission wants to keep closer tabs on their finances. So will this be a stitch in time, or the precursor to bankruptcy proceedings?

As a former Commission chair observed, “My goal was to be positive… I was looking for ways to vote yes, not to shut anyone down.” That’s the spirit. After all, these casinos are good enough, they’re smart enough and doggone it, people want to bet there. At least, they did until July, after which they decided they’d rather bet in Pennsylvania.