You know things aren’t great when even a small loss is considered a big win. But that’s the case in Atlantic City, where the city is celebrating the news that casino revenues fell only 3.8 percent in May compared to the same period last year.
Atlantic City casinos took in a total of $253.1 million last month, which was down from the previous year by a little under four percent. However, that’s still a vast improvement from the first four months of the year, each of which saw a drop of at least 10 percent in revenues when compared to the same time periods for the previous year.
Many officials at Atlantic City casinos think that those double-digit losses were misleading, though. They point to the fact that they’re still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, which hit the region in late October of last year and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage to New Jersey, New York, and coastal Connecticut. While the casinos themselves suffered very little damage, they were still forced to close for a week, and the damage to the surrounding area has certainly pulled money out of the gambling industry as people struggle to rebuild their lives.
“I’ve said for a while now that the biggest challenge of ours has been Sandy-related,” said Tropicana Casino and Resort president Tony Rodio. “Once we put Sandy in our rear-view mirror, we’ll get a much better picture of where we are as a market.”
More Gambling Competition
Where Atlantic City is as a market may stabilize over the next few months, but the news still may not please many in the struggling city. Over the past few years, Atlantic City has consistently seen revenues fall due to increased competition from Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware. What was once a market dominated by the coastal destination city is now home to a vibrant – perhaps even oversaturated – casino industry, one in which Atlantic City has struggled to compete.
Still, the fact that the dramatic losses – which were certainly hurricane-related – have seemingly come to an end is good news for the city’s casinos. Summer is still the biggest season for Atlantic City, and the improving year-over-year numbers could signal a positive change in the months to come.
“If we can keep the low-percentage declines and get close to even as we enter the crucial summer months, that would be a positive indicator,” Rodio said.