Airshow

The Atlantic City Airshow Thunder Over the Boardwalk packs the beach Aug. 17. In addition to tourism events such as the airshow, the city has spent years courting development with PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — programs.

ATLANTIC CITY — The closing of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, a property once owned by now President Donald Trump, led to increased profit margins for the resort’s seven remaining casinos during the fourth quarter of last year.

According to state gaming figures released Friday, the seven remaining casinos saw overall profits increase by 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 after the Taj’s October closing.

Gross operating profits in the fourth quarter totaled $118.1 million compared with $99.8 million in 2015, according to figures from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. Gross operating profits for the year were up 7.3 percent for the year to $587.4 million.

“Most of that has gone back into the market,” Colin Mansfield, director of U.S. Corporates at Fitch Ratings, said of the Taj Mahal’s gaming revenues. “Properties are using the same amount of people and having more business come in.”

Overall, casino revenues remained stable last year despite the Taj closing. Total casino revenue, including internet, gaming and hospitality, totaled more than $3.71 billion in 2016 compared to $3.70 billion the previous year, an increase of less than a percent, according to the report. Gross gaming revenue for 2016 totaled $2.5 billion, up nearly 1 percent over 2015.

“The casino industry was able to grow net revenue and improve its cost efficiency,” said David Rebuck, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “It is significant, in my view, that every casino hotel was able to show improvement in gross operating profit in the historically slower fourth quarter of the year.”

Taj Mahal ownership closed the facility, once known as the “eighth wonder of the world,” Oct. 10. The casino’s management had accused striking Unite Here Local 54 members of preventing a “path to profitability.”

“The results for last year are quite positive, and figures for the fourth quarter are very encouraging for the future,” said Matthew B. Levinson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Casino Control Commission.

The occupancy rate of the city’s casino hotels was up less than a percent in 2016, a good sign, according to Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University.

“The nongaming end has significant good news if you look below the surface. The average rate per occupied room for 2015 was $102.77. This has gone up almost $4 to $106.71,” Pandit said.

Contact: 609-272-7046 nhuba@pressofac.com

Twitter @acpresshuba

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