Atlantic City Casino Revenues Sink 19% in February



This week, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) released its “win,” or revenue totals for February. In the shortest month of the year, gambling revenues in Atlantic City dove 19.2% in comparison to February of 2008 to $310.3 million. A total of 11 casinos make up the Atlantic City market.

For the first two months of 2009, Atlantic City casinos posted a win of $631.7 million. That figure represents a 14.5% drop from the same period in 2008, when casinos raked in $739.1 million. The highest win total ever posted during February came in 2006, when casinos took in $397.4 million. Last year’s mark of $384.1 million was the fourth highest February total on record. The largest win total in the books occurred in July of 2005, when Atlantic City casino revenue was a healthy $504.8 million, the only month over $500 million on record.

Total casino win (slot machine revenue plus table game revenue) for the Atlantic City Hilton was $16.6 million in February of 2009, down 26.1% year over year. At Bally’s, the total was $38.4 million, down 20.1% from February of 2008, when revenues were $48.1 million. The largest percent slide occurred at Caesars, were casino win during February fell by 29.6% year over year to $32.5 million. The smallest decline, by contrast, occurred at the Borgata. Atlantic City’s largest casino posted just a 5.8% drop in revenues to $57.3 million. Borgata hosts a World Poker Tour (WPT) event, the Borgata Poker Open, each September. It formerly also put on the Borgata Poker Classic as a sanctioned WPT event. However, the tournament was scrapped from the WPT schedule in 2009.

Harrah’s Marina saw its revenue slide by 10.3% in February year over year, while Resorts‘ win dove by 24.1% to $15.5 million. Last month, Showboat‘s revenue fell by 25.3% to $24.2 million. Nearly the same fate occurred at the Tropicana, where revenues were $25.3 million, down 19.2%. Trump Marina saw its revenue tumble by 24.2% to $14.1 million in February, while Trump Plaza‘s posted the second largest reported loss in revenue at 27.4%. Finally, the Trump Taj Mahal turned in revenues of $32.5 million in February, down 17.4% from the same period in 2008.

Three Atlantic City properties have posted single-digit year-to-date declines in revenue, seemingly weathering the economic storm well. The Borgata’s casino win is off by just 5.2% year over year to $115.5 million. Harrah’s Marina revenue is off by 6.5% during the first two months of 2009 in comparison to the first two months of 2008. Finally, Trump Taj Mahal, despite posting a 17.4% decline in revenues in February, is still off by just 4.0% year over year.

The Casino Revenue Fund, which is derived from taxes paid by area establishments, reported a $24.8 million take in February. The figure represents revenue from an 8% tax imposed on casinos. The money is used for “programs that benefit qualifying senior citizens and people with disabilities,” according to the CCC. Casinos must also take 1.25% of their gross revenue and use it for reinvestment projects. In February, that amounted to $3.9 million. The Casino Revenue Fund has raised $50.5 million during the 2009 calendar year and over $7.8 billion since its launch in May of 1978.

The news was not entirely grim. Harrah’s Marina reported a 23.1% growth in table game revenue during February of 2009 to $7.8 million. Year-to-date, the Borgata has seen a 5.5% growth in slot machine revenue.

Here’s a look at recent revenues in the New Jersey city. Each figure represents a fall in casino win year over year:
February, 2009: (19.2%)
January, 2009: (9.4%)
December, 2008: (18.7%)
November, 2008: (7.8%)
October, 2008: (9.9%)
September, 2008: (15.1%)

August of 2008 marked the last month where revenue rose year over year. During that month, casino win grew by 0.7% to $468.3 million.

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