- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Bad weather helped keep gamblers away from Atlantic City’s casinos in January, but led them to bet and lose more over the Internet.

Internet gambling posted a big increase, but all it did was keep a bad month for Atlantic City’s casinos from being an even worse one.

The city’s eight casinos took in $190.1 million last month, a decrease of 3.8 percent compared to January 2015.

Internet gambling revenue was up 26.5 percent compared with a year ago, to $14.6 million. Without the extra online revenue, the casinos’ January winnings would have been limited to the $175.4 million they took in from table games and slot machines, which was down 5.6 percent from January 2015.

“January started off strong with the New Year’s holiday weekend, but those gains were erased later in the month when a blizzard dropped up to two feet of snow in Atlantic City’s main feeder markets,” said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “As a result, a lot of people just couldn’t get here that weekend. So it isn’t surprising that revenue from the slots and tables was down for the month. But the bad weather that kept people home contributed to the 26.5 percent hike in revenue from online gambling.”

Four casinos saw revenue increases, led by the Tropicana, which was up 6.6 percent to $24 million. The remaining four saw decreases, topped by Caesars, which was down 13.5 percent to $20 million.

The Borgata, as usual, had the highest monthly revenue at $56.6 million, more than twice that of its closest competitor, Harrah’s. January was a rare up month for the Trump Taj Mahal, which is in the process of being taken over by billionaire investor (and Tropicana owner) Carl Icahn. The Taj Mahal was up 2.3 percent to $12.4 million in January.

The figures released Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show how important Internet gambling is becoming to Atlantic City casinos. But even despite the large increase, Internet gambling accounted for less than 8 percent of the casinos’ total win in January.

Among casinos with Internet gambling, the Borgata continued to lead the market with $4.5 million in winnings in January, followed by Caesars Interactive at $3.2 million; Tropicana at $2.8 million; The Golden Nugget at $2.5 million and Resorts at $1.4 million.

The casinos collectively won $122.9 million and slots, and $52.5 million at table games.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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