It’s another Festivus miracle! Atlantic City casinos posted their second straight month of year-on-year revenue gains, but the improvements are almost entirely a lingering hangover from Hurricane Sandy, which forced the temporary closure of AC’s gaming joints for five days over October/November 2012. The presence of an extra Saturday in November 2013 also helped total gaming revenue at AC’s dozen casinos rise 27.2% to $224.7m. Slot machine revenue rose 30.3% to $164.4m while table game win was up 19.5% to $60.3m. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to list revenue earned by the casinos’ new online gambling operations, which officially opened for business on Nov. 26.
November’s results created the first back-to-back monthly revenue improvements AC has enjoyed in seven years, a timeline that neatly dovetails with the giant sucking sound created by the 2006 launch of casino gambling in neighboring Pennsylvania. Atlantic City’s year-to-date total revenue haul comes to $2.7b, down 6.1% from the same period last year. Last December’s casino gaming win came to a mere $223.5m which, minus a third month of impressive gains, virtually ensures that AC will post its seventh straight year of annual gaming revenue decline and its first sub-$3b annual tally in over two decades.
November 2013 featured just one casino at which revenue fell year-on-year, as the Trump Plaza posted a 2.6% decline to $4.76m thanks to a 28.7% decrease in its table game win. The Borgata easily retained its top spot among AC casinos, posting an 18.9% gain to $50.8m. The next closest competitor, Harrah’s, posted an even more impressive gain (27.4%) but its gaming revenue topped out at $30.2m. The rest of the pack finished as follows: Caesars ($24.4m, +29%), the Tropicana ($18.4m, +44.5%), the Trump Taj Mahal ($18.3m, +8.6%), Bally’s ($18.2m, +20.1%), Revel ($14.6m, +133.9%), Showboat ($13.7m, +19.2%), the Atlantic Club ($10.8m, +44.7%), Resorts ($10.3m, +43.8%) and the Golden Nugget ($10m, +10.4%).
Meanwhile, the price has been upped for bidding on the floundering Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. In November, the Atlantic Club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, clearing the way for an auction on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Last week, the casino listed assets (excluding real property) of $17.1m against liabilities of $16.8m. The casino had been expected to fetch bids of no higher than $15m – the price tag of the aborted sale earlier this year to the Rational Group, the parent firm of online poker giant PokerStars – but the bankruptcy court has now set a minimum bid of $25m for Tuesday’s gavel-banging extravaganza.