Shutdown nicks AC win

Aug 15, 2006 9:36 PM

Atlantic City gaming revenues dropped by 4.8 percent last month compared to July, 2005, the result of an unprecedented three-day shutdown caused by a state budget impasse.

Nevertheless, casino revenue for the year is on pace to shatter last year’s figures, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

"Obviously, the shutdown of the casinos for three days in the beginning of the month had an impact on the industry," said Commission Chair Linda M. Kassekert. "Despite the fact that casinos were closed for three days, we are on track to surpass last year’s casino win."

The casinos reported $480.5 million in revenues for July, compared to $504.8 million a year ago.

Through the first seven months of the year, casinos have won just over $3 billion, up 4.1 percent from the same period in 2005.

"Win" represents how much casinos took in from gamblers after paying off bets. It is not profit and does not include revenue from dining, entertainment and other sources.

Only two of the 12 Atlantic City casinos did better this July than last year: Borgata was up 9.7 percent while the win at Caesars Atlantic City rose 0.2 percent.

The three-day closure ordered by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine shut down much of the state government when he and the legislature could not agree on a budget for the fiscal year, which began July 1.

The shutdown reduced the win by about $50 million, according to estimates from the Casino Association of New Jersey.

"Our numbers look very positive for another increase at the end of the year," Kassekert said. Atlantic City reported a win of more than $5 billion last year, the first time that level has been surpassed.

She attributed increasing revenue to longer hotel stays and more table game play.

"We’re seeing Atlantic City become more of a destination than a day trip," she said.

Of July’s revenues, $345.8 million came from slot machines (72 percent of total), an 8 percent drop, and $134.7 million at table games (28 percent of total), an increase of 4.7 percent.