Atlantic City casinos posted a 3.6% revenue gain in the month of October, but the gain was illusory, generated largely by an even suckier than usual month a year ago when Hurricane Sandy shuttered AC’s gaming joints for five days. Total October gaming revenue was $216.9m, up from $209.4m in that stormy October a year ago. Slots win rose 9.7% to $163.6m, but table game win fell 11.5% to $53.3m, having suffered a 1.8 point decrease in hold percentage.
This marks just the third month of positive revenue figures since AC’s market peaked in 2006, and each one of those outliers was similarly weather-enabled. November 2012’s results were also impacted by Sandy, meaning the present November will likely produce another year-on-year increase, if only just. With just two months to go in 2013, AC’s year-to-date haul is down 8.3% to $2.43b, putting the east coast gaming hub on pace for its first sub-$3b annual take in over 20 years.
For a change, eight of AC’s casinos recorded positive growth in October, with the biggest gain coming from Revel, which rose 21% to $11.2m. As usual, the Borgata led the overall revenue tally, rising 13.2% to $47.6m. The rest of the market ranked thusly: Harrah’s($27.6m, +3.9%), Caesars ($26.8m, -0.5%), Trump Taj Mahal ($20.3m, +8.9%), Bally’s ($17.2m, -12.9%), Showboat ($16.1m, +6.5%), Tropicana ($13.8m, -14.6%), the Atlantic Club ($10.9m, +9.5%), Resorts Atlantic City ($10.7m, +12%), Golden Nugget($9.5m, +10.1%), with the Trump Plaza bringing up the rear ($5m, -24.3%). The Tropicana’s market-leading decline stemmed largely from a $3.6m net loss at its craps tables in October. Damn, was John McCain in town again?
Revel’s numbers may have ticked upward in October, but the investors who assumed ownership of the bankrupt casino in May have let it be known they are ‘exploring strategic options,’ including a sale, possibly to someone who’s just emerged from being in a coma since 2006, the last year that AC posted a collective annual revenue gain. Last week, Revel’s owners announced they’d taken out another $75m in credit, part of which will be used to pay down a $58m loan, while the rest will likely go toward buying ‘for sale’ signs.
Last week also saw the Atlantic Club – the only other AC casino besides Revel not to have reached a deal with an online gambling partner – file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The casino’s owners, Colony Capital LLC, have been legally authorized to start accepting purchase offers on Nov. 18 with a mid-December deadline for selecting a buyer and a mid-February deadline for finishing the paperwork.