Revel Casino trails competition in first months of operation

May 14, 2012 9:56 AM

Revel, the $2.4 billion casino resort widely seen as Atlantic City’s best hope of survival, trailed most of its competition in its first month of operation, placing 8th out of the city’s 12 casinos.

The resort opened April 2 in a preview period it says was intended more to test systems and equipment than to make money. It won $13.4 million from gamblers.

“These numbers don’t shock me,” Revel Entertainment CEO Kevin DeSanctis told the Associated Press on Wednesday, as the company discussed its first month a day ahead of the release of revenue figures by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. “When you open something of this size, there’s an awful lot of work to do and an awful lot of things to take care of.”

DeSanctis said Revel was much more concerned with making sure things worked properly and getting rid of technology glitches that bedeviled some in-room televisions. June, July and August are the months in which he predicted Revel would ramp up its revenues.

Atlantic City’s casinos as a whole took in $260.6 million, a 10 percent decline from a year ago.

Slot machine revenue fell 9.2 percent, to $189.5 million, while table game revenue decreased by 12.1 percent, to $ 71.1 million.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort had a banner month at the tables, tripling its winnings from last April to more than $9 million. Overall, the casino’s revenues were up nearly 39 percent, to $26.7 million.

The only other casino to post a revenue increase was the Golden Nugget, whose $11 million winnings were up 1 percent from a year ago, when the casino operated as Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

The city’s top casino, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, was widely assumed to be one of the casinos that would be most hurt by the emergence of Revel. Yet the Borgata’s $49.6 million in revenue was down only 0.3 percent from a year ago, and was nearly $15 million better than its closest competitor.

That was Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, whose $34.5 million was down 10 percent from a year ago.

The biggest decline was posted by The Atlantic Club, which has struggled for several years and nearly had to close last year before reaching a deal with lenders to wipe out its debt. Re-branded as a value-priced casino, The Atlantic Club took in $8.3 million in April, down more than 41 percent from the $14.1 million it won last year when it was known as the Atlantic City Hilton.

The two Trump casinos also had a rough month, with Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino down more than 33 percent, to $8.8 million, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort down more than 31 percent to $21.9 million.

Caesars Atlantic City was down more than 28 percent to $27.5 million; Bally’s Atlantic City was down 23.6 percent to $27 million, and Resorts Casino Hotel was down more than 21 percent to $11.4 million. The Showboat Casino Hotel was down 14.7 percent to $19.9 million