Atlantic City casino revenues fall by 7.8 percent in November from year-ago period

Atlantic City, New Jersey (AP) — Atlantic City’s casinos won 7.8 percent less from gamblers in November than they did a year ago.

Half a month with a smoking ban, coupled with a severe economic downturn that has left people with little money to spend or risk in the casinos caused yet another dismal month for the gambling halls.

Only two of the 11 casinos reported an increase, while six reported double-digit decreases.

„We have some level of optimism from our hotel occupancy numbers,“ said Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Atlantic City, whose revenue was up 8.5 percent for the month.

But he added Atlantic City’s „drive-in business“ continues to fall off. A decline in gasoline prices could help that situation in coming months, he said.

The November report was another ominous sign for two of the most endangered casinos in Atlantic City.

Resorts Atlantic City, which missed an interest payment last month that could lead to default on its loans and jeopardize the future of the city’s first casino, was down 23.5 percent. Its sister property, the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, fared even worse, posting a decline of more than 30 percent for the month.

All told, the casinos won USD 345.5 million in November. Slot revenue fell by 12.4 percent to USD 228.4 million, while table game revenues increased by 2.8 percent to USD 117.1 million.

For the first 11 months of the year, casinos won USD 4.2 billion, down 6.7 percent from the same period in 2007.

This will be the second straight year that casino revenues declined in Atlantic City after 28 years of consecutive increases.

Trump Marina Hotel Casino, which is in the process of being sold to a New York developer and former protege of Donald Trump, was down more than 27 percent. The Showboat Casino Hotel was down 14.3 percent; Bally’s Atlantic City was down 14 percent, and the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which will soon be taken into bankruptcy court to be sold, was down 10.8 percent.

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was down 9.7 percent, and the perennial industry leader, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, was down 2.9 percent.

The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was virtually flat for the month.

The three Trump casinos also skipped this month’s interest payment to bond holders, although they are allowed to do so under their agreement with investors. Their parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, is trying to restructure its debt.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City saw a 9.4 percent increase.