Atlantic City Casinos: More to Close Predicts Moody’s

Posted on: December 2, 2015, 02:26h. 

Last updated on: December 2, 2015, 02:28h.

New Jersey casinos, more closures expected
The Taj, one of the casinos Moody’s considers to be “on the brink,” as it predicts more closures. (Image: Wikipedia.org)

Atlantic City’s casinos may have reported that profits were up 55.9 percent in Q3 this year, but Moody’s Investment Service has warned that they shouldn’t get too excited just yet.

In fact, Moody’s has secreted a certain bodily byproduct all over New Jersey’s explosive pyrotechnic devices this week by declaring that it forsees more Atlantic City casino closures in its crystal ball.  

The upturn does not suggest that Atlantic City is bouncing back, but is more likely a reflection of the fact that four casinos closed last year, boosting revenues for those that remain, suggests Moody’s, moodily.

On the Brink

In the meantime, three casinos remain “on the brink”: the Trump Taj Mahal, Caesars and Bally’s, which have recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“As the number of casinos shrink, some of the remaining casinos have seen revenues increase, but we expect increased competition will keep the heat on incumbents, and that number of casinos in Atlantic City will likely continue to shrink,” said Moody’s, in a report on the gaming industry, released this week.

“We expect more casino closures to occur in Atlantic City as some struggle to grow their business and face additional competition,” stated the report.

The additional competition comes, of course, from Pennsylvania – which has superseded New Jersey as the second biggest casino market in the US, after Nevada – as well as New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In all, eight casinos are set to open in these neighboring states by the end of 2018, driving footfall away from Atlantic City, and Moody’s fears the worst.

If only we could get an investment analyst with a more optimistic sounding name.

Bad Santa

In other New Jersey news, the state’s lottery commission has launched a campaign urging residents to be wary of stuffing children’s stockings with lottery tickets over the holidays.

Yes, this is actually thing. A thing that people do. Parents. Not Santa Claus. He wouldn’t do that.

It’s not illegal to stuff your kids’ stockings with lottery tickets in New Jersey, apparently. While it is prohibited for anyone under 18 to participate in the lottery, minors are still able to win because state law allows for winnings to be set aside until a player turns 18.

When you consider the lengths the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has taken to fight underage gambling in relation to its licensees, and how crucial this is to the survival of the state’s online gambling industry, one might consider the lottery commission’s stance here to be a little ill-advised.

“Responsible” Lottery-ticket-stocking-stuffing

“We encourage selling lottery tickets throughout the state as much as possible, to the widest variety of people,” Carole Hedinger, executive director of the lottery commission, reassured us at a press conference this week.

“But not to children,” she frowned, “and not to create a problem,” she added, frowning harder.

And the distinction between responsible lottery-ticket-stocking-stuffing and irresponsible lottery-ticket-stocking-stuffing is…?

“If you give a gift of a lottery ticket to someone that’s (sic) underage, it ought to come with a message of what the risks are in gaming, but what also could be, sometimes, the rewards,” explained Hedinger, falteringly.

This strict regulatory message might just suck the joy out of Christmas morning, so maybe we’ll stick to My Little Ponies and My Friend Freddies for our little cherubs instead.