Downward Revenue Trend Continued in Atlantic City in May
Each month when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reports Atlantic City revenue numbers, the story sounds much like it has for the month before that, and likely, the month before that one, too.
As Atlantic City’s struggling gambling industry continues to limp along in the face of increasing competition from neighboring states like Pennsylvania and Delaware, the city has experienced deteriorating revenue for six years running.
Mere single digit decline is seen as a positive step forward
Despite the fact that the May numbers show a continued sinking trajectory, New Jersey officials and those connected to the gambling industry there are calling the newly-reported figures a victory, if only because instead of the usual double digit decline, last month’s numbers showed a dip of only 4 percent.
According to Tony Rodio, who serves as the CEO and President of Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino, the May results are cause for a hopeful attitude.
“I think it’s a significant improvement,” Rodio said. “think the lower numbers we’ve seen since October are more of a reflection of the lasting effects of Sandy. I think the further we put Sandy in our rear-view mirror, the more we’ll see better results.”
Hurricane recovery is a factor
The Sandy Rodio is referring to, of course, is Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York and New Jersey last fall, destroying nearly 400,000 homes along the Garden State’s famed coastline. As the state works to make repairs and infrastructure changes in the wake of the devastation, there are many who blame the storm and its aftermath for the continued gambling revenue slump in the state’s famed gambling capitol.
In some cases, the influx of state and federal aid dollars after the occurrence of a major disaster such as Sandy can help a regional casino industry. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast back in 2005, several casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana experienced heavy damage. Yet, once the properties made repairs and became operational once more, they eventually experienced an uptick in earnings as workers brought in from other locations patronized the area casinos.
New Jersey isn’t alone in report of decline
And while nobody will accuse casinos in Nevada of suffering in the same way that the Atlantic City gambling industry is, it has been reported that April numbers there were stagnant when compared to the same month last year. In fact, according to the Las Vegas Sun, April 2012 fared just a little bit worse, revenue-wise, than April of 2011 did, with a decrease of about 0.16 percent.
Nevada officials aren’t getting too nervous, however, as some of this decrease can be attributed to the fact that there was one more Sunday in April, 2011 than there was this year.