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Casino Revenue Up Nationwide, Big Drop In NJ

Flick Rob Boudon

While casino revenue is up nationwide in 2011, the news is not so good for New Jersey, where gambling revenue fell 7%.

According to the American Gaming Association’s annual report, increased regional competition from a full year of table game operations in Delaware and Pennsylvania continued to take its toll on the Atlantic City market.

“Last year, gross gaming revenue fell 7%, employment 3.9%, and direct gaming tax revenue 9.1% compared with 2010 figures” said Frank Fahrenkopf, President of the American Gaming Association.

Las Vegas remains the nation’s largest casino market, with more than $6 billion in revenue last year.

The report also found that more than a quarter of casino patrons surveyed said they rarely or never gamble, indicating that casinos are doing a better job of offering non-gambling attractions such as fine restaurants, spas, nightclubs and big-name entertainment.

“That bodes well for Revel in Atlantic City, although revenue in the first month since the casino was open was only about $13 million…we have to be fair, the property wasn’t completely open yet…so it remains to be seen what that affect will have on the gambling market in New Jersey” said Fahrenkopf.

The report also noted the nation’s 492 non-Indian casinos or other legal gambling halls paid nearly $8 billion in taxes to state and local governments, a 4.5 percent increase over 2010.

The casinos took in $35.6 billion last year.

They also provided more than 339,000 jobs, a decline of less than half of 1 percent from a year earlier. And casino workers saw their pay decline by 3 percent last year, to $12.9 billion in wages, benefits and tips.

“Casinos are bouncing back from the recession…people are willing to spend their discretionary income more these days” said Fahrenkopf.

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