CASINO

Atlantic City casinos post rare revenue gain, but it comes with an asterisk (or two)

TAGs: Atlantic City, borgata, Caesars Entertainment, revel

atlantic-city-casino-revenue-asteriskUp is down, black is white. April not only saw New Jersey‘s nascent regulated online gambling market post its first monthly revenue decline, but those perennially floundering Atlantic City casinos posted a 3.3% gaming revenue gain. Before anyone concludes that the world is coming to an end and starts preparing for the Rapture, Atlantic City’s year-on-year comparisons come with a lot of caveats.

For one thing, April’s $235.9m gaming revenue total includes $11.4m from online gambling, a revenue stream that didn’t exist last April. Without the online cash and including the operations of the Atlantic Club, which was shuttered in January, casino revenue is down 1.8%. Excluding the Atlantic Club, total slot machine win was flat at $151.4m while table game revenue rose 11.2% to $73m.

Regardless, six of the seaside gambling town’s 11 casinos reported revenue increases in April, led by Revel’s 55% gain to $12.5m. The market-leading Borgata casino gained 12.8% to $55.1m. well above eternal bridesmaid Caesars Atlantic City, which rose 17% to $34.1m. Despite a 10% year-on-year decline, Harrah’s retained its habitual third-place status with $25m.

The rest of the market performed as follows: Tropicana ($21.9m, +6.4%), Trump Taj Mahal ($17.6m, -18.8%), Bally’s ($16.6m, -12.2%), Showboat ($13.2m, -20.1%), Golden Nugget ($13m, +40.1%), Resorts Atlantic City ($10.7m, +7.7%) and the Trump Plaza ($4.4m, -26%).

The Showboat’s decline will likely bolster rumors that its parent company is debating closing its doors in order to reduce capacity in the perpetually declining Atlantic City market. During an analyst call last week, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman referenced the closure of the Atlantic Club, saying “you will see more of that” in the future. Caesars operates four casinos in Atlantic City and the financially flailing company could well see the wisdom in shuttering one or more of its lesser lights in a bid to improve profitability at its remaining properties.

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