Atlantic City casinos suffered a summer slump in August and it’s all the calendar’s fault.
Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show brick-and-mortar gaming revenue at AC’s eight casinos fell 6.7% year-on-year to $229.8m in August. Throw in the $16.1m earned by the casinos’ online gambling sites and August’s year-on-year decline shrinks to 4.9%.
The DGE took pains to point out that August 2015 started on a Saturday, meaning it reaped the benefits of five weekends instead of the standard four. Taking issue with calendar quirks is standard operating procedure for the DGE, which noted that year-to-date gaming revenue is still up 2% to $1.768b.
However you slice it, slot machine revenue was down 5.3% to $167m while table games fared much worse, falling 10.3% to just under $62.8m. Must have been those table-loving millennials who failed to show up because of that missing weekend.
Only two casinos – the Tropicana and the Golden Nugget – were in positive territory for the month, and the Nugget only just barely cleared that bar. August’s biggest decliner was, no surprise, the Trump Taj Mahal, which has been blanketed with striking union workers ever since July 4.
The market-leading Borgata saw revenue fall 7.8% to $65.6m, but that was still almost twice as much as its closest competitor, Harrah’s, which was down 5.5% to $33.6m.
The Tropicana continues to surge, rising 6.3% to $30.1m, finally dethroning Caesars ($27.9m, -11%) as the market’s third-ranked venue. The rest of the chart consisted of Bally’s ($20.9m, -10.5%), the Nugget ($20.4m, +1.1%) and Resorts ($17.5m, -0.4%).
The Taj Mahal brought up the rear with just $13.7m, down a whopping 27.2%. The Taj is set to close on Oct. 10 after owner Carl Icahn lost patience with his striking workers and having to continually throw good money after bad. The closure will leave the market with seven casinos, down from 12 just two years ago.