July was another bleak month at Atlantic City’s casinos, with total gaming revenues coming in at $308.2m, down 9.5% from the previous year. Slots revenue was off 8.9% while table games fell 11%. The glass half-full crowd are pointing to the fact that July 2011 had an extra Friday and Saturday, but the glass half-empty bunch would say that AC had one more gaming establishment this year. That spankin’ new gaming joint, Revel, saw revenues rise from $14.9m in June to $17.5m in July, but that was only good enough for eighth place out of 12.
Even more worrisome, Wall Street analysts had projected that the $2.4b Revel would need to generate $25m to $30m every month just to keep the lights on and keep up the payments on its bonds. With the (supposedly) lucrative summer season almost over, time is running out if Revel hopes to stave off a shockingly early bankruptcy. As usual, the Borgata led all AC casinos with $54m in revenue, although that figure was off 16% from the previous year due to a single gambler winning $5m over the course of one weekend.
For the source of AC’s malaise, you don’t have to look any further than New York City, where the Resorts World casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack had its best month ever in July – its 4,500 slots and 500 electronic table games pulled in net revenue of $59.75m on a record handle of $1.13b. Or perhaps in Pennsylvania, where statewide slots revenue fell 2.5% in July, but that’s still an additional $212.9m that might have ended up riding on AC’s hip in previous years.
And things could get worse for AC. On Friday, the Maryland state senate voted by a 2:1 margin to approve the addition of another casino (the state’s sixth) in Prince George’s County as well as allowing table games at all (currently slots-only) casinos in the state. However, the bill is expected to receive a tougher welcome when it reaches the House of Delegates on Monday, assuming it gets past the House Ways and Means Committee this weekend.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts is in the process of introducing three new casinos, and on Friday, the Suffolk Downs racetrack handed state gaming officials a check for $400k, proof that it was serious in bidding for the one casino license that will be granted for the Boston area. The track’s casino will be a co-production with Caesars Entertainment, which, after losing another $280m this past quarter, probably didn’t have the $400k to spare.