Atlantic City sees slide in gaming

ATLANTIC CITY — In a pretty dismal month for Atlantic City’s casinos, there was some good news: The struggling Revel might be turning things around.

Atlantic City’s casinos took in 12.5 percent less from gamblers in February than they did a year ago. Figures released Monday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the city’s 12 casinos took in $212.3 million.

The decline was helped from 2012 being a leap year in which February had 29 days, compared with the usual 28.

But Revel, the city’s newest casino, which will file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition this month, saw revenue rise to $9 million, up from $7.9 million in January.

“Our numbers are starting to head in the right direction,” said Kevin DeSanctis, Revel’s CEO.

He said the casino-resort’s group and leisure business segments did well in the month, with 44 group meetings held there in February.

DeSanctis said the casino is focusing in the short-term on beefing up entertainment offerings in The Social, a bar-performance space just off the casino floor, and headline entertainment in its 5,500-seat Ovation Hall concert venue; Alicia Keys and Rihanna are among April’s headliners.

Revel has languished near the bottom of the city’s casinos in terms of revenue since opening last April, and the company said it plans to make a Chapter 11 filing by the end of this month. The pre-packaged bankruptcy will wipe away about two-thirds of its $1.5 billion in debt by converting more than $1 billion of it into equity for lenders.

For the city as a whole, the casinos took in $145.3 million from slot machines, a decrease of nearly 18 percent; and $67 million at table games, an increase of just under 1 percent. February is traditionally one of the slowest months of the year in Atlantic City.

The state is hoping its legalization of Internet gambling, which could take effect by the end of this year, will provide new revenue and end the decline.

Only two casinos showed year-over-year increases for February. The Atlantic Club, which is being bought by the PokerStars website, was up 22.7 percent for the month, to $10.2 million. The Tropicana Casino Resort was up 12.5 percent, to $16.3 million.

Trump Plaza, which was sold last month to The Meruelo Group of Downey, Calif., for $20 million — by far the lowest price ever for an Atlantic City casino — registered the biggest monthly decline. It was down nearly 42 percent to just $5.2 million.

Bally’s Atlantic City had the next biggest monthly decline — more than 30 percent — to $18.7 million. The Showboat was down 27.4 percent to $14.6 million, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City was down 23.3 percent to just under $298 million, and Resorts was down 22.4 percent to $8.7 million.


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