Atlantic City suffers worst monthly slide, revenues plummet 15%

Oct 14, 2008 5:07 PM

Staff & Wire Reports | Atlantic City’s 11 casinos experienced their biggest monthly drop in revenue ever in September. The amount of money they won from gamblers plunged 15.1 percent from the same month a year ago. That made it the biggest one-month decline in the 30-year history of legalized gambling here.

Figures released Friday by the state Casino Control Commission showed that the casinos took in $356 million in September. That total included $244.7 million at the slot machines, a decline of 18.6 percent, and $111.2 million at table games, down 6.2 percent.

For the first nine months of the year, the casinos won $3.6 billion, down 6.3 percent from the same period in 2007. Revenue from slot machines is down 8.1 percent and revenue from table games is down 1.8 percent for the nine months.

How bad was September? Every casino in town reported a decline. Eight of them posted double-digit downturns, and four reported revenue plunges of 22 percent or more.

The worst performer was Resorts Atlantic City, which was down a staggering 32.5 percent. Its sister property, the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, was next on the losers list at 27 percent.

Two Trump casinos were next. Trump Marina Hotel Casino was down 24.7 percent, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was not far behind at 22.7 percent.

Bally’s Atlantic City was down 18 percent, the Showboat Casino Hotel was down 17.1 percent and the Tropicana Casino and Resort was down 15.6 percent.

The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was down 9.9 percent, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City was down 8.3 percent, and the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa was down 5 percent – the best performance in the city.

It has been certain for several months now that Atlantic City will experience its second consecutive year of declining revenues after seeing them do nothing but increase for 28 straight years.

 This year’s decline is driven in part by the declining economy, but began early last year when slots parlors in Pennsylvania and New York opened, siphoning off some of Atlantic City’s most profitable customers.

The second-greatest monthly decline occurred in January 1994 when Atlantic City was hit hard by a series of snow and ice storms that kept gamblers away, and sent revenue down by 13.6 percent.