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Sandy causes record drop in N.J. casino revenues

By WAYNE PARRY Associated Press

Publication: The Day

Published December 11. 2012 4:00AM

Atlantic City, N.J. - Superstorm Sandy came ashore near Atlantic City in October, but in November the storm led to the biggest monthly drop in casino revenue in the city's 34-year history of legalized gambling.

Closures due to the storm sent Atlantic City's casino revenue plunging nearly 28 percent last month.

Every one of the city's 12 casinos reported declines, and four were down 42 percent or more for the month.

The casinos closed on Oct. 28, the day before the storm hit, and began reopening Nov. 2. It wasn't until Nov. 5 that all 12 casinos were back in operation. That led to a 19.9 percent decline in casino revenues in October, the previous largest monthly drop ever.

The casinos took in $176.6 million in November, a decline of 27.9 percent from November 2011, when they were open a full month. Slot revenue was $126 million, down 27 percent, and table games revenue was $50.4 million, down nearly 30 percent.

"The storm has impacted business from the areas in New Jersey and New York that sustained major damage," said Kevin DeSanctis, CEO of Revel, the city's newest casino which took in $6.2 million in November, ranking it next to last. "Clearly, the visitation was impacted as those areas work to get their lives back to some type of normalcy. We are hopeful that as those areas recover, so will the visitation to Atlantic City."

According to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, at least nine conventions, conferences, trade shows and fairs were canceled, including the New Jersey Education Association Conference and the New Jersey League of Municipalities convention. At least 15 concerts and other entertainment events were canceled for the month.

DeSanctis said 20 groups scrapped events that were booked at Revel in November, adding most have re-booked.

Bally's Atlantic City had the biggest decline, down 46 percent to $15.1 million. The Golden Nugget Atlantic City had the best month: down less than half a percent to $9.5 million.

For the first 11 months of the year, casinos won $2.8 billion, down 7.9 percent from the same period in 2011.

Tropical Storm Irene forced the casinos to close for three days in August 2011, causing a 19.8 percent revenue plunge.

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