Atlantic City’s casinos did not get a June rebound in gambling revenue to give them upward momentum heading into the peak summer tourist season.
Altogether, the 12 casino hotels took in $240.2 million in revenue from their slot machines and table games, down 13 percent from a year ago, according to figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Slot winnings were $179.1 million, off 11 percent, while revenue from table games came in at $61.1 million, a decline of 16 percent compared to last year.
The gambling industry has struggled with revenue declines in each month so far this year, showing that the sluggish economy and competition from casinos in surrounding states continue to hurt Atlantic City.
While Atlantic City continues to battle competition and the weak economy, June’s soggy weather and an unfriendly calendar didn’t help the casinos, either.
This June had one fewer Friday than June 2012. Moreover, the Atlantic City region was inundated with record amounts of rainfall in June, hardly making for ideal tourist weather. The Atlantic City Marina had 9.55 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 8.45 inches set in 1920.
June was seen as particularly important to set the stage for the crucial summer season, when casinos traditionally make their most money. However, all of the casinos suffered a drop in revenue for the month.
One casino analyst said it is premature to predict whether June’s results suggest that the rest of the summer will be disappointing, too. He stressed that Atlantic City is not alone in suffering from intense competition from other casino markets.
“It’s certainly not encouraging,” said Cory Morowitz, chairman of Morowitz Gaming Advisors. “We’re still in this situation where Atlantic City is getting slammed by the competition. More important, what is happening in Atlantic City is also what we’re seeing uniformly across the U.S., except for the newer markets. It’s not just Atlantic City seeing these declines. It’s industrywide.”
For the first six months of the year, Atlantic City’s gambling industry has won $1.38 billion, down nearly 11 percent from the same period in 2012. Atlantic City is now in the midst of seven straight years of revenue declines. It is also on pace to fall below $3 billion in annual revenue for the first time since 1991.
The lone standout this year has been the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, up 19 percent for the first six months. The Atlantic Club has rebranded itself as a low-cost casino that offers customers the “best deal in town.”
Although the Atlantic Club was down 5 percent in June, it was still encouraged that its revenue decline was far smaller than the 13 percent drop for the entire industry.
“We are extremely pleased with June’s performance. The Atlantic Club continues to significantly outperform the Atlantic City market and our prior-year profitability numbers,” said Michael Frawley, the casino’s chief operating officer. “The ‘best deal’ in Atlantic City continues to resonate with our guests and our year-to-date results are clear evidence of that.”
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was June’s biggest decliner, plunging 24 percent to end the month with an industry low of $6.9 million in gambling revenue.
Revel Casino-Hotel, Atlantic City’s newest property, continues to struggle since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. The $2.4 billion megaresort was second to last in June revenue at $11.6 million, down 23 percent compared to last year.
Resorts Casino Hotel had June’s smallest revenue decline, at just 0.5 percent. Resorts has been benefiting from the $35 million Margaritaville-themed restaurant, bar and casino expansion that opened over the Memorial Day weekend.
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