Atlantic City posts rare monthly win, casino revenues rise 3.6 percent

ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic City’s casino revenues increased by 3.6 percent in October compared with the same month in 2012, but the increase was mainly a result of Superstorm Sandy a year ago.

The increase came largely because Sandy forced the 12 casinos to shut down for six to nine days in late October and early November of 2012. The casinos showed an increase in August 2012, but that was a year after Tropical Storm Irene forced casinos to close. Other year-over-year gains came in December 2011 and August 2008.

The city’s 12 casinos brought in $216.9 million in October 2013. Slot machine revenue was up 9.7 percent to $163.6 million, but table game revenue fell by 11.5 percent to $53.3 million because of a lower hold rate for the casinos at those games.

The Tropicana fared worst on table games; revenue was down an eye-popping 118 percent. The casino posted a monthly loss at table games of more than $588,000, compared with winnings of $3.2 million in October 2012.

The Tropicana in recent years adopted a strategy of high-stakes table games to attract high rollers, the “whales” that the gambling industry covets. The strategy has yielded solid gains at times, but also sometimes caused staggering loss as players racked up multimillion-dollar wins at the tables.

Tropicana President Tony Rodio said that happened again at least once in October, but he wouldn’t say whether more than one person hit the casino for a big score. For the month, the Tropicana took in $13.8 million, a decline of 14.6 percent from a year ago.

“October’s results would have been even better, but the industry reported an unusually low hold at the gaming tables,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman Matthew Levinson said. “If the hold percentage had remained stable, casinos would have brought in several million dollars in additional revenue.”

The Tropicana was particularly battered at the craps tables, where it lost $3.6 million.

Gaming revenue at Revel, which may be headed for the auction block or for a second spin through bankruptcy court, was up 21 percent for the month, to $11.2 million. Revel was buoyed by a good month at the slot machines, where revenue gained by more than 58 percent.

The Borgata’s gaming revenue was up 13.2 percent to $47.6 million; Resorts was up 12 percent to $10.6 million; the Golden Nugget Atlantic City was up 10.1 percent to $9.5 million; and the Atlantic Club, which filed for bankruptcy this past week and is selling itself at an auction, was up 9.5 percent to $10.8 million.

The Trump Taj Mahal’s gaming revenue was up 8.9 percent to $20.2 million; the Showboat’s was up 6.5 percent to $16.1 million; and Harrah’s Atlantic City’s was up 3.9 percent to $27.6 million.

Trump Plaza continued to struggle; its gaming win fell 24.3 percent to $4.9 million for the month, hurt by double-digit declines at both table games and slots. Bally’s Atlantic City’s gaming win was down 12.9 percent to $17.2 million; and Caesars Atlantic City’s gaming win was down less than 1 percent to $26.8 million.

For the first 10 months of the year, the casinos won $2.4 billion, down 8.3 percent from the same period last year.