Another bad month for A.C. casinos

Jul 17, 2007 3:52 AM

With half the year now in the books, 2007 is shaping up to be a year Atlantic City’s casinos would rather forget.

The city’s 11 gambling houses took in $2.44 billion over the first half of the year, down 4 percent from the same period last year. It is all but certain that 2007 will be the first year that revenues decrease since casino gambling began here in 1978.

The casinos won $419.8 million in June, or a 1.9 percent decline from June 2006. And the numbers probably would have been worse had there not been a fifth Saturday this June. Weekend days are the most profitable for casinos.

Analysts blamed extra competition from slot parlors in Pennsylvania and New York and Atlantic City’s partial smoking ban that took effect on April 15 for the drop in business.

"It appears to be the start of a soft summer," said Harvey Perkins of Spectrum Gaming Group, a casino consulting firm.

Slots revenue in Atlantic City fell 4.9 percent last month, coming in at $303 million.

One bright spot, however, was the 6.9 percent increase in the amount the casinos won at table games.

And to put the numbers in perspective, despite the decline, this was still the second-best June the Atlantic City casinos had ever had.

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino posted the biggest decline last month, at 13.9 percent, followed by the Atlantic City Hilton Casino resort at 10.1 percent, Resorts Atlantic City at 6.8 percent, and The Tropicana Casino and Resort at 5.5 percent.

For the first six months of the year, seven of the 11 casinos reported declines, led by the Hilton at 7.9 percent, and Trump Plaza at 7.7 percent.

March was the only month in 2007 to have a revenue increase. If trends continue in 2007, Atlantic City will suffer its first ever annual revenue decline in its 29-year history of casinos.