Borgata has best-ever month; Trump Taj Mahal in strike slump
ATLANTIC CITY -- Atlantic City's top casino had its best month ever even as a soon-to-close casino faltered amid a monthlong strike that helped prompt its billionaire owner to decide to shut it down.
The Borgata won nearly $85 million from gamblers in July, its best month ever and a 12.1 percent increase over July 2015.
That came as the Trump Taj Mahal casino posted an 8.2 percent revenue decline amid a strike by the city's main casino workers' union. The casino opened by Donald Trump in 1990 is now owned by his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn, who plans to shut it down Oct. 10, citing multimillion-dollar monthly losses due in part to the strike.
Overall, revenue at Atlantic City's eight casinos was up 6.9 percent in July, to $275.2 million.
But the biggest news came from the Borgata, which was recently fully acquired by MGM Resorts International, which formerly owned half of it. It won $84.7 million from gamblers in July.
"While we expected a good month with five full weekends, we are very pleased with a record-breaking month 13 years after opening," said Joe Lupo, the Borgata's senior vice president.
The news was much bleaker at the Trump Taj Mahal. The strike began July 1 and is ongoing.
Figures released Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show the Taj Mahal won $17.5 million from gamblers in July, down from the $19.1 million it won in July 2015 when there was no strike. The results likely would have been worse had there not been an extra Saturday and Sunday this July compared to last July.
Revenue from table games was up 11 percent, to $75.7 million, and slot machine revenue was up 3.1 percent, to $182.2 million. Internet gambling revenue continued its steady growth, up 38.6 percent from a year ago, to $17.3 million.
Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union went on strike against the Taj Mahal after being unable to reach a deal restoring health insurance and pension benefits that the casino's former owners terminated in bankruptcy court.
Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, no longer owns the casino, having cut most ties with Atlantic City in 2009. His lone remaining 10 percent ownership stake in the Taj Mahal's parent company was wiped out during its most recent bankruptcy when Icahn took over in March.
The Tropicana, Atlantic City's other casino owned by Icahn, posted the biggest increase among brick-and-mortar casinos, up 14.2 percent, to $36.4 million.
The Golden Nugget was up 9.7 percent, to $25 million, and Caesars, another Boardwalk competitor to the Taj Mahal, was up 7.6 percent, to $31.2 million. Resorts, the nearest functioning casino to the Taj Mahal, saw its revenue increase by 6.2 percent in July compared with a year ago, to $17.8 million.
Harrah's was down 5.2 percent, to $34.2 million, and Bally's was down 4.8 percent, to $21.6 million.
Friday's figures also revealed how all five companies involved in internet gambling in New Jersey are staking out increasingly similar equal shares of the market, which used to be dominated by the Borgata. The Borgata; Caesars Interactive-NJ; the Golden Nugget; Resorts Digital; and the Tropicana posted internet gambling revenue of $3 million to $3.9 million in July.
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