Atlantic City’s eight remaining casinos posted a modest revenue gain in May.
Total brick-and-mortar gaming win from AC’s eight surviving casinos came to $208.6m, up 4.3% from the total those same eight earned in the same month last year. If you count the $12.5m generated by New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market, May’s numbers are up 5.3% to $221.1m.
Half of AC’s elite eight posted revenue gains in May, but the market-leading Borgata wasn’t among them. The Borgata saw revenue fall 5% to $52.2m, but this was more than enough to fend off second-place finisher Harrah’s, which rose 8.2% to $33.3m.
Caesars posted the biggest monthly gain, rising 51% to $27.7m, enough to top the Tropicana’s $25.1m, which was flat year-on-year. The Golden Nugget rose 19.3% to $19.4m, edging out the Trump Taj Mahal’s $18.5m (-14.5%) and Bally’s $18.2m (-12.1%). Resorts brought up the rear with $14.2m, up 16.9%.
If you factor in contributions from the casinos that closed last year, May’s revenue would be down 9% year-on-year. But New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Matt Levinson told the Associated Press that “the size of the market may be smaller, but the health of the current operators is getting stronger.”
This week saw New Jersey legislators revive plans to authorize casinos outside Atlantic City, including hotly eyed proposals in the Meadowlands area. Such a move would involve amending the state constitution, which would require voter approval via a ballot referendum. State Senate President Steve Sweeney said it still wasn’t clear whether legislators would be able to reach consensus by the Aug. 3 deadline for putting the question on this November’s ballot.
The state Assembly passed a number of resolutions on Thursday, including the PILOT bill that would allow AC casinos to make fixed annual payments in lieu of variable taxes, which would allow them to more accurately budget for the future. The plan would see the casinos collectively pay $150m for the first two years, and $120m annually for 13 years after that, assuming gambling revenue remains within the city’s specified targets. The state senate will vote on the PILOT proposal on June 25.