January revenue numbers sag again for Atlantic City casinos
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Visits to the resort's official tourism website, atlanticcitynj.com, totaled 342,971, up 30 percent from a year ago.
Statistics released last Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the casinos took in us$ 236.9 million in January. Slot machine revenue was virtually unchanged at us$ 164.7 million, but table games revenue plunged 20.2 percent, to us$ 72.2 million compared with a year ago.
Lisa Spengler, a spokeswoman for the gaming enforcement division, said the decrease can be chalked up to "primarily bad luck." The casinos hold percentage at table games was 14.8 percent last month, compared with 16.6 percent in January 2011. Slot machine winnings, she noted, were down only 0.1 percent for the month.
The calendar hurt somewhat; there was one more Saturday in January 2011 than there was this year. But unseasonably mild weather this January (temperatures averaged 10 degrees warmer than normal) spurred hopes the casinos might have had a better month.
The resort has been fighting fierce competition from casinos in neighboring states, and the lingering effects of an uncertain economy. Only two of the 11 casinos showed increases in revenue last month: The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, up 3.4 percent to us$ 9.6 million; and Resorts Casino Hotel, up 3.2 percent to just over us$ 10 million.
Resorts co-owner Dennis Gomes said after owning the casino for a full year, he has been able to build a customer database and tailor comp offers of rooms, meals and free gambling play more closely to each customer. "We're able to start refining our offers to our customers to make sure what we're giving our players is consistent with what they're giving us back," he said.
Gomes said it was particularly gratifying to have an up month during the winter, which is the slowest period for Atlantic City casinos. Business over the first 10 days in February has been encouraging as well, he said.
The biggest decline was at ACH, which is changing its name next month to The Atlantic Club. Its revenues fell 20.6 percent in January, to us$ 7.8 million, the lowest total in the city.
Trump Plaza, which has been struggling for years and is up for sale, was down 14.3 percent to us$ 8.2 million. The Tropicana Casino and Resort was down 13.1 percent, to us$ 18.7 million, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was down 12.1 percent to us$ 24.4 million.
Bally's Atlantic City, which earlier this month closed down some of its gambling areas in the former Claridge Casino Hotel as part of a renovation, was down 10 percent to us$ 24.9 million. The Showboat Casino Hotel was down 7.2 percent to us$ 16.8 million, and Harrah's Resort Atlantic City was down 6.8 percent to us$ 34.4 million. Caesars Atlantic City was down 5.1 percent to us$ 29.9 million, and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was down 2,4 percent to us$ 51.7 million, by far the highest total in the city.
Revel, which will become the city's 12th casino when it opens its doors on April 2, is being counted on to help jump-start Atlantic City by attracting new customers curious to check out the newest product in the market.
Some non-gambling tourism indicators pointed to a decent month in January, including more than 6,000 visitors stopping at the city's information centers for maps, general information, and room and restaurant reservations, a 25.9 percent increase over January 2011. Visits to the resort's official tourism website, atlanticcitynj.com, totaled 342,971, up 30 percent from a year ago.
Traffic figures from the South Jersey Transportation Authority show 1,540,882 cars passed through the Atlantic City Expressway's Pleasantville toll plaza leading into Atlantic City, up 7.6 percent over January 2011.