Atlantic City casino closings hurt revenue toll

ATLANTIC CITY — The loss of four casinos began to show up in Atlantic City’s gambling revenues in September, which were nearly 13 percent less than they were a year ago before the lights started going out.

Including Internet gambling revenue, which didn’t exist a year ago, the casinos won $209.4 million in September, down from $240.2 million in September 2013.

But September saw the closings of two casinos, Revel and Trump Plaza, and the Showboat closed its doors on Aug. 31. The Atlantic Club closed in January.

Casinos that operated in both Sept. 2013 and 2014 posted a 9.1 percent increase in revenue last month, climbing to $207.7 million.

Internet gambling took in $10.2 million in September, down $300,000 from August.

Figures released from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the casinos took in $147.8 million at the slot machines, down 16.6 percent from a year ago, and $51.2 million at table games, down 18.5 percent.

Among Internet gambling providers, the Borgata and its party poker brand retained the top spot in September, winning $3.4 million online. Caesars Interactive ranked second at $2.6 million, the Tropicana was over $2 million, the Golden Nugget won nearly $1.1 million, and the now-closed Trump Plaza won $767,870. The Trump Taj Mahal won $228,717 online, but both Trump casinos lost their Internet gambling partners last month.

As of September 30, New Jersey had 456,502 Internet gambling accounts, although many players have accounts with more than one provider. That total was up nearly 6 percent from August.

Of the eight land-based casinos currently operating in Atlantic City, the Golden Nugget posted the largest monthly revenue increase, up 51.6 percent to $16.2 million. The Tropicana was up 15.8 percent to $23.4 million, and the Borgata was up 13 percent to $58.4 million.

The Taj Mahal posted the biggest monthly revenue decline, down nearly 23 percent to $17.5 million. Its owners, Trump Entertainment Resorts, are threatening to close it on Nov. 13 if it does not receive major concessions from its union workers and $175 million in local and state government aid. A bankruptcy judge in Delaware will rule Friday on whether the casino can terminate its union contract, and free itself from costly pension and health care obligations. If the ruling goes against the company, Trump Entertainment is expected to announce fairly quickly that it will close the Taj Mahal, making it the fifth of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos to go out of business this year.

So far this year, Atlantic City’s casinos have taken in $2.04 billion. They hit their peak revenue of $5.2 billion in 2006; by last year the total had fallen to $2.86 billion.

About 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers have lost their jobs so far this year; another 3,000 would become unemployed if the Taj Mahal closes.

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