Forget about the doom and gloom; Atlantic City is back! While it’s probably a stretch to say that the New Jersey casino town is on its way back to prominence, there’s no denying that last month’s results provided a glimpse of hope. In September, the eight remaining casinos in Atlantic City recorded revenue of $230 million from table games, slot machines and internet gaming, which was an 11 percent increase over the results of the previous year.
Data from the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement painted a mostly positive picture for Atlantic City’s struggling casino industry. Two casinos – Bally’s and Trump Taj Mahal – recorded a decline in revenue for the month, but five casinos achieved double-digit gains. So, what drove this recovery? Analysts suggest that it was a result of both the calendar and a bit of luck.
The calendar portion of the formula revolves around the placement of the Labor Day holiday weekend. In 2015, the entire weekend fell in September, but, in 2014, most of the busy weekend landed in August. This hypothesis is reinforced by studying the August results, which were down five percent from the previous year.
Resorts led the way with a 32 percent year-over-year increase in revenues for September. These results followed a court decision earlier in the week allowing the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut to invest in the internet gambling operations of Atlantic City’s first casino. The Mohegan tribe currently manages the day-to-day operations of Resorts Casino Hotel. The Golden Nugget followed close behind Resorts’ performance, achieving an increase of roughly 21 percent in revenue for September. On the flipside, Bally’s and Trump Taj Mahal both declined by more than four percent.
The Atlantic City casino industry has been in freefall in recent months, with four casinos closing their doors in 2014. As a result, revenue figures have been less than promising. While the holiday schedule likely played a major role in September’s results, they still serve as a welcome reprieve for the Boardwalk City.
“We had some luck this year, not just with the games but also with the calendar,” Casino Control Commission Chairman Matt Levinson told KYW Newsradio. “It was one of those months when we had an extra holiday in there and we had an air show and it was a very good month for us.”
Moving forward, the city will look to build on these results, aided by the fact that revenue reports will no longer include the performance of the four shuttered casinos. Because the casino industry is a staple of the city’s economy, these results are expected to encourage further diversification of the local economy, potentially spurring a long-term recovery for one of the country’s most famous vacation destinations.
On Thursday, state and federal agencies began work on a $32.5 million storm control project to protect the northern end of Atlantic City. This project, in addition to the previously reported financial results, serve as highlights for what has been one of the city’s best weeks in recent memory.