BUSINESS

Atlantic City on pace for lowest annual revenue since 1991

TAGs: Atlantic City, Churchill Downs, churchill downs incorporated, New Jersey Online Gambling

atlantic-city-end-at-handAtlantic City’s casino business is on pace for its lowest annual revenue haul in over two decades, according to figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Wednesday. All 12 AC casinos posted year-on-year revenue declines in June, collectively falling 12.6% to $240.2m. Table game revenue fell 16.3% to $61.1m while slots fell 11.2% to $179.1m. For the first six months of 2013, revenue is off 10.7% to $1.38b, putting the state on track for its first annual sub-$3b revenue total since 1991.

The Resorts Casino Hotel posted the slimmest decline (0.5%), while the Trump Plaza posted both the biggest plunge (23.6%) in percentage terms and the lowest monthly revenue tally ($6.9m). At the other end of the scale, the market-leading Borgata fell 8.9% to $48.5m, Harrah’s fell 9.5% to $30m and Caesars slumped 19.3% to $25.7m. Revel’s new post-bankruptcy ‘gamblers wanted’ strategy hasn’t altered its fortunes much, falling 22.6% to $11.5m, just beating out the Golden Nugget (-5.2%, $10.7m) for 10th place on the revenue depth chart.

If you strip out Maryland, whose four casinos posted revenue gains of 57% in June, Atlantic City’s declining fortunes are increasingly a regional phenomenon. Pennsylvania reported its first annual slots decline in 2012, while June brought revenue declines at all six of Ohio’s casinos and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell proposed an $8m bailout for his state’s three struggling casinos. That type of fiscal rescue won’t fly in the Garden State, where lawmakers appear to be running out of patience over AC’s inability to break out of its six-year-long downward spiral, increasing the likelihood the state will seek to end AC’s monopoly by allowing a casino at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford.

The Atlantic Club, whose revenue fell 4.8% to $13m in June, is one of only two AC casinos (the other being Revel) yet to declare the identify of its online gambling partner for New Jersey’s regulated market launch in November. The Atlantic Club famously spurned the advances of PokerStars, who last week sought refuge in the open arms of Resorts. Since it received little play at the time, let’s recirculate a rumor suggested last week by David McKee’s ‘Stiffs And Georges’ blog that the Atlantic Club is a takeover target of horseracing, casino and online gambling operator Churchill Downs Inc. And Revel? Let’s have some fun and pair them up with Zynga, as they’re sitting on a mountain of cash and they’re just desperate/crazy enough to try it…

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