October Atlantic City casino revenue down less than 1 pct
ATLANTIC CITY -- October was another depressing month for Atlantic City's casino industry, with yet another casino going out of business.
Yet the news was not all bad: The seven surviving casinos saw their revenue increase by nearly 6 percent compared with a year earlier.
Including the Trump Taj Mahal, which shut down on Oct. 10, Atlantic City's casinos saw their revenue decline in October by less than 1 percent compared with October 2015. But when the Taj Mahal is excluded, the remaining casinos saw their revenue increase by 5.9 percent.
"For the year, the seven operating casinos are up by 3.1 percent," said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. "I anticipate the operators will continue to focus on improving their business in Atlantic City."
The eight casinos that operated for at least part of the month in October won $203 million, which was down 0.7 percent from October 2015.
Internet gambling continued its steady rise in New Jersey, bringing in $16.6 million in October, up nearly 30 percent from a year ago.
The largest monthly increase was posted by the Golden Nugget, which was up 16.7 percent to $20.6 million. The Tropicana was up 13.5 percent to $27.9 million.
Only two casinos posted declines for the month: Resorts, which was down 3.5 percent to $14.2 million; and Bally's, which was down 2.9 percent to $16.5 million. But Resorts' internet gambling arm, resorts Digital, saw its revenue surge by more than 204 percent for the month compared with a year ago.
The Trump Taj Mahal closed after months of a bitter union strike that hurt its already shaky business. Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union went on strike July 1 against the casino, which was built by President-elect Donald Trump but is now owned by his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn.
Icahn decided to shut the casino after the company and the union were unable to agree on a new contract for its nearly 3,000 workers. The casino's previous owners, Trump Entertainment Resorts, terminated the health insurance and pension benefits of unionized workers in October 2014 while the casino was in bankruptcy court.
But the elimination of yet another competitor in the slimmed-down Atlantic City market appears to bode well for the seven survivors, at least in the short term, as evidenced by their nearly 6 percent revenue growth in October. And Atlantic City dodged a bullet this month when New Jersey voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to expand casino gambling to northern New Jersey. The ballot question cannot be reintroduced for at least two years.
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