ATLANTIC CITY — A double-digit increase in Internet gambling revenue was among the few highlights in an otherwise tough April that saw the casino industry’s winnings slide nearly 16 percent overall.
Altogether, Atlantic City’s eight casinos posted $198.9 million in revenue from Internet gambling, slot machines and table games, a 3 percent drop compared to the $205.1 million they had a year ago, according to figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
However, the year-over-year decline was even more precipitous — 15.6 percent — when compared to the $235.9 million in total revenue generated by the 11 casinos that were in business in April 2014. Since then, the Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza casinos have shut down.
Internet gambling, though, showed a healthy increase in April, climbing 11 percent overall to nearly $12.7 million. New Jersey’s online betting got off to a sluggish start when it was launched in late 2013, but has been on the upswing in recent months as it gains popularity
The casino industry’s brick-and-mortar operations continue to struggle, the figures show. Total revenue from slot machines and table games came in at $186.3 million in April, down 17 percent from a year ago.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Resorts Casino Hotel were individual standouts in April, each enjoying double-digit gains in revenue. Golden Nugget topped the industry with a 30 percent increase, reflecting the extra business it has been attracting since some of its competitors closed down last year.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa remains the industry’s overall leader in revenue, but its winnings declined 3 percent in April, to $57.5 million. Caesars Atlantic City suffered April’s biggest decline, tumbling 34 percent to end the month with $22.5 million in revenue compared to $34.1 million last year.
Matthew Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said he remains encouraged by overall revenue increases so far this year among the eight surviving casinos. He also pointed to upward trends in Internet gambling and casino employment as signs of improvement.
“When you look at the first four months of this year, revenues are still running 3.5 percent above last year’s levels. In addition, Internet gaming revenue continues to grow,” Levinson said. “Another clear indicator of the improving health of the industry is that five casinos hired more people in April.”
Levinson mainly attributed the industry’s decline in April revenue to a tough comparison to last year, when Caesars had an unusually high hold percentage in the amount of money it won from gamblers at its slot machines and table games.
“That is the biggest reason why casino revenues fell in April,” he said.
Contact Donald Wittkowski: