Casino business revenues in Atlantic City saw their biggest drop in their three years of hurt as Hurricane Irene contributed to a particularly torrid month. September marked the 36th consecutive month that revenues were down and the worst was saved until last. The city’s 11 casinos saw a year-on-year decline of 19.8% according to New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. Much of this was blamed on Governor Chris Christie’s decision to shut down casinos for three days during the storm. It became only the third blanket closure since AC’s casino industry was legalized in 1978.
The casinos took a total of $278.8million in revenue with slot machines generating $193.7m in winnings (down 21% on last year). Table games also fell back to $85.1m (down 17%). The shut down began on Friday August 26th and it was sods law that the closure fell on a weekend and not during the week.
After the shut down, the casinos’ woes started with Donald Trump’s namesakes faring worst. The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel Casino saw huge declines. Winnings were down to $25.9m at the Taj Mahal, a decline of 35.5%. That was slightly higher than the drop of 34.9% to $11m at the Plaza Hotel. The only site to stay open saw a decline of just 14.1% as the Golden Nugget decided to keep its hotel and restaurants open. That reflects more what the loss of revenue would have been like if the storm hadn’t hit.
It goes to show one of the many advantages that Las Vegas enjoys by being in the desert – it might well give you a sandy crack but this seems like it’s enough to put off Irene. Huge sigh of relief for all involved over there. As for AC – three years and still going strong with them declines.