Sandy leaves Revel casino reeling

A few guys and no waiting at the slots about 11:30 p.m. at Revel Casino on Nov. 30.
A few guys and no waiting at the slots about 11:30 p.m. at Revel Casino on Nov. 30. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff)
Posted: December 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy left its mark on November gaming revenue at all 12 Atlantic City casinos. But none took a more debilitating hit than Revel, which has been burning through cash at an alarming rate and which generated just $6.2 million from gamblers last month.

Revel reported its lowest monthly casino revenue since its April 2 opening, according to figures released Monday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement - numbers that also represented a 33 percent drop from the $9.3 million the gambling palace made in October.

Overall, same-store gambling revenue among the resort's casinos fell 30.5 percent year-over-year in November, the largest single monthly decline ever recorded, the DGE said.

The decrease followed a 23.5 percent same-store decline in October. Sandy hit the Jersey Shore the final weekend of that month and forced all the casinos to shut for more than four days.

Revel's November totals ranked it 11th among the dozen casinos. To keep the operation open, its owner is currently seeking additional money from its lending group and hopes to secure a deal within 45 days.

Revel had upped its credit line to $100 million in mid-August, but it quickly exhausted most of that money, more than $77 million as of Nov. 21, according to company filings.

In a statement Monday, Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis said: "Revel was fortunate to have weathered Hurricane Sandy with minor damage, with both the beach and Boardwalk intact; however, the hurricane clearly impacted November gross gaming revenue for Revel and Atlantic City in general. The storm has impacted business from the areas in New Jersey and New York that sustained major damage."

"Clearly," DeSanctis continued, ". . . we are hopeful that as those areas recover, so will the visitation to Atlantic City. . . . We're looking forward to a solid end to 2012."

But industry experts said the aftermath of Sandy will be felt for a while.

"Results for the past two months have been decimated by property closures due to Hurricane Sandy," gaming analyst John Kempf, of RBC Capital Markets L.L.C., wrote to investors Monday. ". . . It is our opinion that it will take a number of months for volumes to return to normalized levels."

The only other casino to fare worse was Trump Plaza, which reported $4.9 million in November gaming revenue.

Declines in Atlantic City ranged from 0.4 percent at Golden Nugget to 46 percent at Bally's.

Market leader Borgata held up relatively well, at $42.7 million, dropping just 15 percent year-over-year. Total casino revenue there was actually up 1.6 percent from October levels.

Four casinos - Bally's, Tropicana, Showboat, and Trump Plaza - all experienced greater than 40 percent revenue declines from a year ago.

Caesars and Resorts each reported a decline of 34.6 percent in revenue.

Golden Nugget, which underwent a $150 million renovation by new owner Houston-based Landry's Inc. over the summer, was last month's best performer, declining just 0.4 percent.


Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2855 or sparmley@phillynews.com.

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