Where’s a hurricane when you need one? That’s what Atlantic City’s casino bosses are likely thinking after the east coast gaming hub released depressing revenue figures for the month of September. Total slots and table games revenue at AC’s dozen casinos was $276m, down 6.3% from the previous year. Making matters worse, September 2012 had one more (supposedly) lucrative weekend than the previous year. August had seen a 12.6% year-on-year revenue boost, which had some thinking AC’s long-sagging fortunes had finally hit bottom, until saner minds pointed out the figures were skewed due to Hurricane Irene having shuttered the casinos for three days in August 2011. This September, slots win fell 3.2% to $198.4m, while table game win dropped 13.6% to $77.6m. For the first three quarters of 2012, AC’s slots revenue has fallen 3%, while table games have sunk 10%. Overall gaming revenue is off 4.8% to $2.4b.
This September, all but one of AC’s gaming joints posted a decline in revenues. The lone exception was the Golden Nugget, which was up 7.7% thanks to a hot streak at its gaming tables, where winnings rose 37.6%. (Guess they finally shuffled those cards right.) As usual, the Borgata was AC’s top earner, taking in $55.3m, even though that’s off 5.9% from 2011. Caesars was second with $33.3m (down 7.2%) and Harrah’s was third with $32.7m (down 13.9%). The three worst monthly declines were the Tropicana (down 29%), Bally’s (down 22.6%) and the Trump Plaza (down 18.8%). AC’s newest joint, Revel, remains mired in eighth place, taking in $16.9m. There are no comparable figures for 2011, but it’s a 15% drop from August, which was Revel’s best performance in its now six-month history.
With AC headed for palliative care, it can’t do much to help Caesars Entertainment chip away at its $20b debt load. As such, the tottering casino behemoth is looking elsewhere for solutions. Ad Age reports that Caesars, which spent nearly $80m promoting its brands last year, has launched a creative agency review. The work is currently overseen by a handful of agencies, but Caesars wants to whittle that down to one or two that can handle the lot. A request-for-proposal document seen by Ad Age states that Caesars intends to “employ fewer, but larger campaigns” which “should be focused on driving near-term revenue rather than long-term brand health.” (Translation: we need money now.) And applicants were warned that winning the account might mean working through the holidays. (Translation: NOW! NOW! NOW!) You know, the Santa suit might be tailor made for someone of Caesars CEO Gary Loveman’s girth, but the man isn’t scoring very high on the jolly meter these days.