NJ casinos post biggest monthly revenue drop ever - again

Apr 10, 2009 12:30 AM
Staff & Wire Reports |

For the second straight month, Atlantic City casinos have set a record for the biggest monthly revenue drop in the 30-year history of legalized gambling there.

March figures released Thursday by the state Casino Control Commission showed the gambling halls took in $318.4 million, a drop of 19.4 percent from a year ago.

That eclipsed the previous record for the biggest monthly decline, which was set in February when revenues fell 19.2 percent.

The recession and stiff competition from slots parlors in Pennsylvania and New York continue to take a frightful toll on the nation's second-largest casino market.

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Three casinos there are in bankruptcy, a fourth is headed there within weeks and still another is fighting off foreclosure because it can't pay its bank loans.

Nine of the 11 casinos registered revenue drops of 21 percent or more, led by the Atlantic City Hilton Casino and Resort, which has been one of Atlantic City's worst performers in recent years. Its revenues were down 34.8 percent.

Trump Marina Hotel Casino was down 32.2 percent, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was down 29.4 percent. (The third casino owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, was the only casino in Atlantic City to register an increase in March, up 6.3 percent.)

Caesars Atlantic City was down 27.9 percent, Resorts Atlantic City, which is fighting off a foreclosure attempt by its lender, was down 26.7 percent, and the Showboat Casino Hotel was down 23 percent.

Bally's Atlantic City was down 21.5 percent, the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which could enter bankruptcy next week, was down 21.1 percent, and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was down 7.6 percent.

Some factors in March's decline include one fewer Saturday than in March 2008, plus a snowstorm that briefly hurt business.

Atlantic City is now in the third straight year of revenue declines that started when slots parlors opened in the Philadelphia suburbs. Those new gambling halls gave closer-to-home options to customers who once had little choice but to drive to Atlantic City.