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Sandy Piles More Misery on AC Casinos

sandy

Casinos in Atlantic City can't catch a break with Hurricane Sandy heaping on more misery.

Atlantic City's 12 casinos have been struggling for years as competition has increased in neighboring states but the impact of Sandy isn't helping. Most AC casinos were forced to close for five to seven days and business still hasn't returned to pre-storm levels.

Analysts are predicting that overall casino revenues could be down as much as 25% over the next six months -- a heavy blow considering that most AC casinos were struggling to show a profit even before the storm.

Most casinos escaped any physical damage but many of their regular customers from New York and other heavily impacted regions are struggling for even basics such as electricity and gas, with a gambling trip to Atlantic City the last thing on their minds.

Several casinos have responded with layoffs and asking some employees to take a week of unpaid time off or to bar workers from using vacation days to cover for the time casinos were closed during the storm.

Hopes that the new Revel casino -- the first new casino to open in AC for years -- would spawn an overall uptick in gambling revenues in the city has failed to materialize, with hopes now revolving around the controversial plan by the state of New Jersey to offer sportsbetting at casinos.

Federal law prohibits New Jersey from offering sportsbetting but legislators essentially ignored that and passed a state law to allow sportsbetting with the blessing of Governor Chris Christie.

While casinos have welcomed the move some have been hesitant to build out room for sportsbooks, fearing that the federal government might intervene and shut down the operations of any casino in Atlantic City offering sportsbetting once the new law goes into effect.

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