Hurricane causes Atlantic City monthly revenues to drop 20 percent

Hurricane Irene exacted a heavy toll on Atlantic City revenues in August, causing a 20 percent decline. It was the biggest monthly decline ever for the 33-year-old market, where casinos were forced to close for three full days due to the storm, denying operators revenue for a full summer weekend. The numbers were further depressed by the calendar, which had one fewer Sunday than August 2010.

Based upon filings with the Division of Gaming Enforcement, total casino win fell 19.8 percent in August 2011 to $278.8 million. Slot machine win fell 20.9 percent, to $193.7 million, while table game win decreased by 17.0 percent, to $85.1 million. According to the Press of Atlantic City, Tropicana Casino and Resort posted the best result of the market’s 11 casinos, down 8 percent to $28.8 million, while the worst performer was Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, down 35.5 percent to $40.3 million.

For the first eight months of the year, Atlantic City casinos won $2.3 billion which is down 8.7 percent from the same period in 2010. Win from slot machines was down 7.3 percent and win from table games was down 11.9 percent for the eight month period.

All 11 of the city’s casinos were forced to close ahead of the storm which struck the New Jersey Coast on August 28. The shutdown and its aftermath, coming during the busy summer season, proved costly. Tony Rodio, president and chief executive officer of Tropicana Casino and Resort, estimated the three-day shutdown cost the industry $40 million to $45 million in lost gaming revenue, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Additionally, Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City’s biggest operator with four casinos, lost about $6 million to $8 million in cash flow from $25 million in revenue it would have expected at its New Jersey and Philadelphia properties, chief executive officer Gary Loveman toldCNBC.