CASINO

Atlantic City in the red; Melco Crown in the black; BC casinos woo Chinese

TAGs: Atlantic City, British Columbia, China, Macau, Melco Crown Entertainment

atlantic-city-melco-crown-british-columbiaIn September, Atlantic City’s 11 casinos came with 0.6% of posting their first revenue gain in over three years. Hope they enjoyed the ‘good times’ while they lasted, because October’s gambling revenue figure came in at $262m, down 7.8% from the previous month last year. That makes 38 consecutive months of revenue decline. As with recent figures from Nevada, several non-gaming venues in AC actually showed slight upticks in visitor numbers, but that will be cold comfort to the casino bosses (except the ones running the Borgata and Resorts Atlantic City, which bucked the trend to record better results than in 2010).

This will seem an especially cruel segue, but Asian casino and resort operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. posted a record net income of $113.3m in Q3 2011, up from $15.8m just a year ago. The surge is based largely on a 44% increase in casino revenue to $1.02b. That’s right – Melco’s operations in Macau earned almost 4x the gambling revenue as all of Atlantic City combined. As Atlantic City icon Nucky Thompson so aptly observed on Boardwalk Empire a couple weeks ago: “God distributes his gifts unequally.”

With Macau continuing to defy traditional logic that says what goes up must eventually come down, the British Columbia government’s recent advice to local businesses not to promote the province’s casinos to Chinese tourists seems especially daft. Great Canadian Gaming VP Howard Blank told The Province’s Michael Smyth that the government minions responsible for that advice had apparently been smoking too much opium. China has “never had problems with us showing our resort and all the other amenities that BC casinos are offering.” Dare one ask if Atlantic City’s tourism board would knowingly turn down an influx of Chinese baccarat money right about now?

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