Atlantic City has been contending with a sluggish economy and competition from casinos in surrounding states for many months, but February brought yet another challenge — an unfriendly calendar.
With one fewer day on the calendar this February than Leap Year’s February 2012, casino revenue fell nearly 13 percent to $212.3 million, according to figures released Monday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
February’s results reflect the difficulties Atlantic City has had in the past six years with the weak economy and fierce competition from casinos in neighboring states, particularly Pennsylvania.
Among the 12 casino hotels, only Tropicana Casino and Resort and the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel had higher gambling revenue in February compared to last year. Tropicana was up nearly 13 percent to $16.3 million, while revenue at the Atlantic Club rose 23 percent to $10.2 million.
Atlantic Club is in the midst of being sold to the parent company of online global gambling giant PokerStars for an undisclosed amount.
Revel, Atlantic City’s newest casino, finished in 10th place in February, grossing just $9 million. Only Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, at $5.2 million, and Resorts Casino Hotel, at $8.7 million, were lower than Revel in February.
Trump Plaza, the city’s poorest performing casino in 2012, is being bought by the California-based Meruelo Group in a $20 million sale scheduled to close May 31.
Revel, which has been near the bottom of the pack since opening last April, is preparing to file for bankruptcy this month as part of a debt-restructuring agreement with a majority of its lenders.
Kevin DeSanctis, Revel’s chief executive officer, put a positive spin on February’s results, noting that the casino’s gambling revenue increased 13 percent over the $8 million it grossed in January. DeSanctis said Revel’s group and leisure business were up as well.
“Our numbers are starting to head in the right direction — more than 44 groups held meetings at Revel in February, and we exceeded our leisure bookings forecast,” DeSanctis said in a statement.
In the short term, Revel will beef up its entertainment lineup at its two main concert halls to boost business on the nongambling side. By the summer, Revel plans to open a new high-end slots lounge, a noodle bar and a beach club, DeSanctis said.