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Report: Grim Outlook For Atlantic City Casinos

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A new report paints a grim picture of 2011 in the nation’s second-largest gambling market.

The research report by a major casino analysis company predicts Atlantic City’s 11 casinos will continue to lose money and market share this year, even as the competition all around them prospers.

The Spectrum Gaming Group report predicts Atlantic City’s casino revenue will fall more than 13 percent this year, while the seven casinos in eastern Pennsylvania, along with those in New York, Delaware and Maryland will increase their revenue by nearly 27 percent.

That’s mainly because other states continue to add casinos, while there’s nothing new on the horizon in Atlantic City this year.

The report projects that Atlantic City will have lost a staggering 41 percent of its business since 2006.

“There are a lot of challenges ahead for Atlantic City,” said Shawn McCloud, director of financial analysis for the Linwood, N.J.-based Spectrum. “You’ll still have some performers like the Borgata and Harrah’s that are well-capitalized that will weather the storm. But as a market, Atlantic City is not going to see the income stream like they did in the good old days, four or five years ago.

“A lot of the reason for that grim forecast is there’s no catalyst in sight to turn that around,” McCloud said. “There’s no new casino opening this year, no one is adding a major hotel expansion. There’s no spark for Atlantic City this year.”

Analyzing historical trends and assessing the current casino market in the Northeast, the firm projected that Atlantic City’s 11 casinos will see their 2011 revenue fall to $3.09 billion, down from the $3.57 billion they registered in 2010. That would mark a 13.3 percent decline.

But the other mid-Atlantic casino states should see their revenue grow from $3.33 billion last year to $4.23 billion at the end of this year, an increase of 26.9 percent.

Slot machines, which are Atlantic City’s bread and butter, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the seaside resort’s gambling take, are projected to fall from $2.47 billion last year to $2.18 billion, a decline of 11.8 percent. Table games in Atlantic City are projected to fall from $1.09 billion to $911 million, a decline of 16.7 percent.

Contrast that with projected slots revenue growth in the other mid-Atlantic states from $3.14 billion last year to $3.66 billion this year, an increase of 16.6 percent. And table games growth in the other states will be off the charts this year, largely because they debuted last summer, and this will be the first full year of games like roulette, craps, blackjack and others. The report forecasts an increase of more than 190 percent, from $198 million last year to $576 million this year.

Atlantic City casino executives are already bracing for 2011 to be a difficult year. One casino, Resorts Casino Hotel, narrowly avoided having to shut down last month and was sold for a relative song, $31.5 million. That’s by far the lowest price ever paid for an Atlantic City casino.

Another distressed property, the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort is the subject of a court battle over whether a receiver should be appointed to run the place, and a similarly discounted sale is being discussed.

“We think the Spectrum report is probably pretty accurate,” said Bob Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns three casinos here. he is also president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, the industry’s trade group. “Clearly competition in surrounding states has had an impact on Atlantic City and will continue to have an impact. New York will be adding more gaming.

“But we do think this will be a good summer at the shore, and we’re still looking at the second half of the year as a glass half-full,” Griffin said. “We are optimistic about the second half of the year.”

Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, said the resort has plenty of things going for it this year, particularly non-gambling attractions.

“While the gaming industry has indeed suffered nationwide, we have been working to broaden our appeal to showcase world-class entertainment, restaurants, golf, spas and shopping, among other assets,” he said. “While we do not have new casinos scheduled to open in 2011, we continue to have tremendous brand recognition and expect to strongly market the destination and its unique advantages over our competition.”

That competition continues to ramp up all around them. The report projects that Pennsylvania’s seven eastern casinos will increase their revenue more than 25 percent to nearly $2.7 billion.

A new casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City is due to open this spring, and the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway continues to post annual increases in slot revenue. The report projects 32 percent revenue growth for New York, to $771 million.

Delaware is projected to increase 6.1 percent, to $610 million, and the Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Md., is projected to see its revenue soar to $164 million in its first full year of operation this; (it opened last fall).

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Ed Zabielski Jr

    Its the 21 century and the casino’s should get rid of all the cancer in the air.
    Delaware has ALL smoke free casino’s and its GREAT!!!!!

    • ken pors

      should have read before printed..I meant wake up ac buy the damn casinos in pa…u make money we get comps and here we come down ac again

  • flutedoc

    Tear down the Hilton, build some low-income housing so the less-advantaged residents of AC can enjoy easy access to the ocean and boardwalk again, and maybe get lucky in the remaining casinos!

  • Peter

    AC got fat and lazy back when they had a monopoly. They de-emphasized table games in favor of slots and so that now when you think of Atlantic City you think of chain smoking blue haired ladies with oxygen tanks pumping their solcial security checks into slot machines. Who wants to gamble there?



  • Vegas or Bust

    Atlantic City casinsos have the worst blackjack games of any major casino in the country. Most are badly-cut, eight-deck monsters with the dealer hitting soft 17 (disadvantageous to the player) There is no surrender option as in PA and just a handful of low-limit tables avaiilable in the entire city.

  • Phil J.

    And I didn’t even mention DE casinos ( smoke free also I believe ) that not only offer table games and slots, but now sports betting along with horses. Nice, new modern building with again, free parking! And in a much nicer area than AC. Why would anyone go to AC?

    AC’s only customer base is now those who live within 30 mins.

  • Phil J.

    The PA casinos are non-smoking. I think Parx in Bensalem has a small section of table games that allow smoking, but Harrahs Chester doesn’t. The days of AC being a tourist destination are over. NY’ers can go to Yonkers and soon Aqueduct racetrack. PA’ers can go to Harrahs Chester, Parx, Mohegan Sun Pocono and play both slots and table games. It is going to get worse also, once NY allows table games AC is in more trouble, probably more than they can handle. If you live in Western ( PA ), Central ( PA, NY ), or North ( NY ) in NJ, you have closer and now much nicer options than AC. And instead of getting ahead of the curve, the current NJ gov. and the southern NJ politicians and keeping a casino from being developed at the Meadowlands complex in hopes of saving AC. Getting the ball rolling on a brand new, modern casino with table games in that market would beat NY to the punch and keep some of that revenue in state atleast. The writing is on the wall, but these people are so politically blind they can’t make the correct decisions.

    I live in Gloucester County NJ and will probably never gamble in AC again. I can go to Harrahs Chester and the wife can play slots while I play table games ( including poker ) or horses. We can both eat at a variety of eateries including sports bars or a casino type buffet and get this … free parking and plenty of it!

  • ccole

    I believe there is smoking allowed in the casinos in other states, while AC’s dealers created quite a ruckus regarding smoking. I think they did themselves in because smokers will go where they are treated like everyone else and not as criminals by the people they support (the dealers). Just sayin’—I’m not a smoker but I listen to the comments around me.

  • BC

    As the economy is still in the cellar, you’d think that AC would be proactive in attempting to increase traffic and subsequently, spending. But when you pay $8.00 for a drink, $300. for a room, and $200. and up for tickets to a show, people just don’t have it. I’ll bet if the prices were reduced the people would come. Secondly, for years the casinos TOOK money from AC and did not put substatial sums back into the infrastructure. They are now reaping what they have sowed.

    • bum fish

      I agree with that nothing there to pay big bucks for

    • Char T


  • jack markowitz

    Atlantic City should reinvent itself as a showbiz destination like Vegas with top name entertainment at affordable prices. The seashore experience should be promoted as well.

    • Dave

      I agree! AC could be so much more! It needs to evolve or else it will become extinct! I love AC and the changes it has made in the recent years. But AC should represent more than gambling. I also agree with BC – you shouldn’t have to pay $8 for a beer at the beach bars. Make it affordable and the people will come!!!

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