Online Gaming Helps Atlantic City Casinos Stay Afloat
Despite the closure of 4 Atlantic City Casinos, the New Jersey casino industry has earned $305 million in revenues for August 2014. A figure that’s up by 2.3 % from August last year ($298 million) and a number that has finally ended the 8 year unbroken run of declining numbers.
The figures, which were released by the State Division of Gaming Enforcement on Friday, show the increase in gaming revenue, $10.5 million, is the roughly the same amount generated by the online gambling industry, which was not operational in New Jersey at the same time last year.
Various industry experts have hailed the new numbers, which although not that massive are still pleasing and show improvement as Dr. Israel Posner, Director of Stockton College’s Gaming and Tourism Institute said: “Flat is the new up in this industry, the numbers suggest that the Atlantic City gaming market is approaching its bottom, and hotels in the area did well this summer – as did other non-gaming sites”.
According to the statistics provided by Gaming Enforcement, the Tropicana was the highest earner of the month and showed revenues that were up by a massive 46% while second place went to the Golden Nugget with a 34% increase and Harrah’s was third with a 18% increase. Outside the top three was Caesars with a 16% increase and the only other casino that showed a double digit increase.
On the down side, there were a few casinos that did run at a loss, but they are the same casinos which are either closed, closing soon or bankrupt and nearing closure. Trump Plaza was down by 45% and the once mighty Revel, was down 41%. But, as massive as those numbers were, the shocker was the Trump Taj Mahal which, although now bankrupt and set to close near the end of the year, was still only down from 6% from last year, showing that casino has been in trouble for a long time.
While the improving numbers may please a few, they are not difficult to explain as Atlantic City will, come the end of the year, have five fewer casinos than it did at the same time last year. The improving numbers, while helped with the introduction of the new online casinos, may just be the direct result of having fewer casinos to play at.
This, according to sources within the industry, was the plan all along and the Caesars group, which bought the now closed Atlantic Club Casino, had no intention of keeping it open and even went as far as to allow the sale of all the slots machines and casino games to the Tropicana Entertainment Inc.
Even Trump Entertainment Resorts has closed the Trump Plaza, some say to aid the Trump Taj Mahal, although there has been talk of the Taj Mahal, which is currently being sued by Trump for the removal of his name, may still face closure as Trump Entertainment Resorts looks set to pull out of Atlantic City.
As it stands, the future of Atlantic City is far from certain and with the loss of 5 casinos and nearly 10 000 jobs, it would seem AC will need to make plans for the future, although Governor Christie is doing all he can, even going so far as to decriminalize sports betting in an emergency summit meeting last week.
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