The good news for Atlantic City casinos
October casino revenue figures for Atlantic City are in, and while the numbers declined again, casino watchers say there is some good news.
Overall casino revenue decreased 4.4 percent in October. But when the gambling halls that have shut down this year are excluded, revenues actually increased 19 percent. Four casinos have closed in Atlantic City this year: The Atlantic Club, the Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza. And the operator of the Trump Taj Mahal threatens to close Dec. 12 unless the casino workers' union drops legal challenges to a court order ending their health insurance and pension benefits.
"While overall revenue has declined, I think people who are still coming to Atlantic City are continuing to come," said Casino Analyst Roger Gros of Global Gaming Business Magazine.
Seven years ago, AC revenues were about $5.2 billion. According to Gros, "this year, we're probably going to be down to around $2.5 billion.
Gros believes the fact that revenues were up sharply for casinos still operating is a survival of the fittest story.
"I think there's going to be some good news down the road here at least. I think that the closing of the four or five casinos, however far we're going to go here, is going to really be good for the surviving casinos and good for the city."
There were no jaw-dropping numbers from the internet gambling revenue side of the picture in October. They were $9.5 million, down from $10.2 million in September. Gros suggests those returns are cyclical in nature.
"We might expect to see some better internet gambling figures in the winter, especially if it is cold or there is bad weather, because people will be looking for something to do while they are shut in," Gros said.
The biggest revenue winner in October was the Tropicana, which saw an almost 71 percent revenue increase. The gambling hall with the largest revenue decline in October was the Taj Mahal, down 17.4 percent.