ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City’s casino revenue fell by 4.4 percent in October compared with a year ago, according to figures released Thursday.
The casinos took in $207 million, compared to $216 million in October 2013.
But when casinos that have recently shut down are excluded, the surviving casinos saw their revenue increase by more than 19 percent compared to last October, the numbers showed.
Four of the city’s 12 casinos have shut down so far this year - The Atlantic Club, the Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza. And the owners of the Trump Taj Mahal said Thursday they will close it on Dec. 12 unless the casino workers’ union stops trying to overturn a court order that ended their health insurance and pensions.
Internet gambling brought in nearly $9.5 million in October, down from $10.2 million in September.
Matt Levinson, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission, said the statistics for the surviving casinos show that the market is beginning to stabilize following the closings. He also touted non-gambling attractions and investments as evidence that Atlantic City is transitioning from a gambling resort to a more diversified one.
“Seven of the eight casinos reported increases in October, a sign that gaming revenues are starting to stabilize while non-gaming revenues are growing,” he said. “Five of the properties reported double digit increases including two - Golden Nugget and Tropicana - that were up by more than 50 percent.
“Celebrity chefs are opening new restaurants here, Bass Pro Shops and the new meeting center at Harrah’s are nearing completion and just yesterday Stockton announced it plans to create a new campus in Atlantic City at the former Showboat Hotel Casino,” he said. “We have come through difficult days, but the city clearly is transforming into a new full-scale resort.”
Internet gambling, which did not exist a year ago, has taken in $103 million in its first 11 months - about a tenth of what some officials expected when it launched in late November 2013.
The Tropicana Casino and Resort posted the biggest increase in October, at $23.5 million, up nearly 71 percent compared with a year ago. The Golden Nugget was up 67.3 percent to $15.9 million.
Golden Nugget general manager Tom Pohlman said his casino has been steadily building its market share, helped in part by customers from now-closed casinos.
“We are getting a fair share from those properties, but we are seeing just as many people coming over from the other properties in town as well,” he said.
The Taj Mahal was down 17.4 percent to $16.7 million as it battled with its union and warned employees it was rapidly running out of money.
The Borgata, the city’s top casino, took in $55.3 million, up 16.2 percent from a year ago.
The numbers were released the same day a panel appointed by Gov. Chris Christie released its recommendations to help Atlantic City. They include setting predictable tax payments for casinos, freezing taxes for three years on non-gambling property, giving schools more aid if they reduce costs, and temporarily halting contributions to employee pension plans.
Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC
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