The Nevada casino industry whooped it up after the recent news that they’d posted two consecutive months of increased revenues. And then there’s Atlantic City, which just announced it has posted gaming revenue declines for 35 consecutive months now. That’s right … one month shy of three years. (For interested friends and relatives, the traditional third anniversary gift is something leather, so why not buy AC a nice whip? Perfect for self-flagellation!)
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, AC’s gaming revenue fell 6.5% in July compared to the same month a year earlier. Of AC’s 11 casinos, only Harrah’s Resort was in positive territory, and even then it was only by 1%. Overall, AC’s casinos took in $340.3m from their slots and tables, compared with $363.9m last year. Slots were off 3%, while table game proceeds were off almost 15%.
But Atlantic City has a plan (of sorts) to turn things around. They’ve invited Don Johnson, the blackjack player who took the town’s casinos for $15.1m earlier this year, to come back for another kick at the can. Johnson will return to the scene of his perfectly legal heist on Sept. 2 to take part in a $100k winner-take-all tournament at the Tropicana. (About $5.8m of Johnson’s earlier haul came from the Tropicana’s tables.) So, the guy has clearly figured out how to game your games, and your solution is to invite him back? Pick a chair that keeps your back to the wall, Don…
As if New Jersey’s situation wasn’t already dire, Tuesday’s announcement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that he would consider allowing non-Indian casinos to operate just across the border from Jersey must have had AC casino execs reaching for their nitroglycerin tablets. Already reeling from neighboring Pennsylvania’s addition of table games a year ago, AC really doesn’t need more competition. Seriously, if the producers of Boardwalk Empire want to air a third season, they’d best start shooting it now, before the entire city is sold off board by board.