A.C. casinos suffer a March revenue dip

The chips were down for Atlantic City last month, with only the Atlantic Club seeing a big boost in revenue.
The chips were down for Atlantic City last month, with only the Atlantic Club seeing a big boost in revenue. (Star-Ledger, File)
Posted: April 11, 2013

Atlantic City's dozen casinos generated $238.5 million in total gaming revenue last month, down 10.5 percent from March 2012, when 11 casinos generated $266.5 million.

Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reinforced the obvious: that even with the opening of the $2.4 billion Revel in April 2012 and its addition of 2,450 slot machines and 160 table games to the market, Atlantic City's gambling revenue continued to shrink.

Of the 11 gambling halls open a full year in March, 10 saw revenue decline. The exception: the Atlantic Club, with a 32.7 percent revenue bump last month, to $12.6 million. Otherwise, drops ranged from 3.6 percent at Borgata to 30.9 percent at Trump Plaza.

Winter months are the slowest for the Atlantic City casinos and their hotels.

March's results benefited from a calendar with one extra Sunday but were hurt by a 20 percent, or $7.2 million, reduction in promotional gaming credits wagered.

On March 25, a week before its first birthday, Revel filed for a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The financial restructuring, which is to be completed within 60 days, is intended to eliminate about $1.3 billion of Revel's $1.5 billion debt through a debt-for-equity swap.

In March, Revel finished 10th at $9.8 million, ahead of Resorts ($9.3 million) and recently sold Trump Plaza ($6.9 million). By comparison, market leader Borgata generated $52.1 million last month.

"We are heading in the right direction with the 8.9 percent growth in our gross gaming revenues month-over-month, which points to the progress and promotion enhancements in the Revel Card program," said interim CEO Jeffrey Hartmann, who took over for Kevin DeSanctis last month.

In a report Wednesday, gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett, of Deutsche Bank A.G., said, "For Atlantic City, our view of continued declines (apples-to-apples comparison excluding Sandy) into 2013 remains intact as consumers in this market (and everywhere else as well) will be negatively impacted by higher taxes (payroll, health care, and some cases Bush tax cuts), commodity costs (gas and other necessities), and the reduction to discretionary income."

Contact Suzette Parmley

at 215-854-2855 or sparmley@phillynews.com.

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