- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City’s casinos won 14.7 percent more from gamblers in February than they did a year ago.

Figures released Monday by the state Gaming Enforcement Division show the eight casinos took in $204.7 million in February. Internet gambling did particularly well, bringing in $14.7 million for the month, an increase of nearly 42 percent compared with February 2015.

Six of the eight casinos posted monthly increases, led by the Borgata, which was up more than 29 percent from a year ago, to $62.8 million.

The Trump Taj Majal, which was recently taken over by billionaire Carl Icahn, had a slight decline of less than 1 percent, to just over $12 million. Caesars was down 8.3 percent to $22.6 million.

“It’s always positive to see casino revenues going up, and there were a lot of factors that combined to make February a good month,” said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “Compared to last year, the weather was great and with Leap Year, last month had one extra day.”

Slot winnings were up 8.9 percent to $130.2 million, while table games winnings were up 23.2 percent to $59.6 million.

As usual, the Borgata won the most money in Atlantic City, by a large margin. Joe Lupo, the casino’s senior vice president, said February was just a lucky month for the house.

“We were very pleased with February’s results, having a record slot month combined with exceptional results in table games and poker,” he said.

Among casinos with Internet gambling, the Borgata retained the top spot in the online market, with $4.2 million in Internet revenue, an increase of $13.4 percent from a year ago. The Golden Nugget, Tropicana, and Caesars Interactive-NJ were closely bunched around the No. 2 spot, at around $3 million each. Resorts had $1.3 million in Internet revenue, but next week its online partner PokerStars, the world’s largest Internet poker site, will begin operating in New Jersey, presumably providing a big boost to Resorts’ online numbers.

The numbers with their big monthly boost came just an hour before New Jersey lawmakers were expected to authorize a statewide referendum on the November ballot that would ask voters whether to approve two new casinos in the northern part of the state, just outside New York City. Despite sending nearly half the tax revenue the new casinos would initially generate to Atlantic city, the new in-state competition is expected to severely hurt the remaining eight casinos. Opponents of casino expansion and some Wall Street analysts predict two or more Atlantic City casinos could shut down if new casinos are allowed to open in northern New Jersey.

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