According to figures released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, gaming revenues in Atlantic City dipped 13.2% during the 2009 calendar year compared to 2008. All told, area casinos raked in $3.9 billion.
Revenue derived from slot machines and table games were both hit hard. Funds pulled from the one-armed bandits dropped 13.1% in 2009 to $2.72 billion, while table game revenue fell 13.5% to $1.22 billion. Casino Control Commission Chair Linda Kassekert commented in a press release, “Casinos continued to suffer in 2009. The weak national economy, growing competition across our borders, and the partial ban on smoking in casinos combined to depress gaming revenues.” Officials in New Jersey are eyeing gambling expansion in Pennsylvania and Delaware as additional competitive pressures. In response, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak recently introduced a bill to allow intrastate internet gambling.
Despite the rapidly increasing competition and shrinking sources of revenue, Kassekert remained optimistic that Atlantic City’s uniqueness would continue to attract visitors to its casinos: “Atlantic City has a lot to offer visitors in addition to gambling. When the economy improves and people have more money to spend on entertainment, Atlantic City will draw more and more people interested in visiting our shops, enjoying a concert, dining in our fine restaurants, and relaxing on our beach.”
During the 2009-2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit schedule, Atlantic City plays host to a pair of events. In December, Harrah’s Atlantic City held a slate of 17 poker tournaments. Its $5,150 buy-in Main Event saw Chris “SLOPPYKLOD” Klodnicki best a field of 195 players to earn $215,000. Heads-up, Klodnicki defeated fellow online poker player Kyle “kwob20” Bowker, who pocketed $128,000. The WSOP Circuit returns to the New Jersey city in March for the Caesars Atlantic City festivities. The casino is fresh off awarding a record-setting $553,000 Bad Beat Jackpot to Delaware native Steven Gedney.
New Jersey casinos’ taxable gross revenue in 2009 was $3.7 billion, which meant that gaming establishments paid $295.3 million to the State. The funds, which represent 8% of taxable gross revenue, go directly to the Casino Revenue Fund, which benefits senior citizens and New Jersey residents with disabilities. Casinos also coughed up $49.3 million in reinvestment costs. On that cash outlay, the Commission explained, “They are required to reinvest 1.25 percent of taxable gross revenues in projects approved by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.”
In December, casino revenue slid 9.8% year over year to $272.1 million. Hit hardest during the final month of the decade was Trump Marina, whose revenues plummeted by 25.2% to $10.1 million. The second largest decline was seen at Trump Plaza, where revenues skidded 18.9% year over year to $13.0 million. At the Atlantic City Hilton, the news on casino “win” was equally poor, as revenues dipped 17.3% in December 2009 compared to December 2008 to $11.7 million. Caesars Atlantic City, contrastingly, saw a 4.4% rise in revenue in December.
For the 2009 calendar year, every single casino in Atlantic City posted lower revenue than in 2008. Three locales – the Atlantic City Hilton, Trump Marina, and Trump Plaza – saw win dive by 20% or more year over year. Virtually untouched amid the sagging economy was the Borgata, whose revenues of $695.3 million in 2009 trailed its 2008 figures by just 5.9%. Only one other casino’s revenue fell by single-digits year over year, the Trump Taj Mahal. Beginning on Wednesday at the Borgata is its annual Winter Poker Open, which runs through February 5th. The Main Event, which has a $2 million guaranteed prize pool, begins on January 31st.
In Las Vegas, casino gambling revenue rose in November year over year, posting the first monthly gain in nearly two years. In Atlantic City during the same month, revenues slid 13.4% compared to November 2008.