The Trump Taj Mahal became the fifth Atlantic City casino to shut down since 2014 as owner Carl Icahn and the Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union were unable to reach a mutual decision regarding the casino employees healthcare and benefits. Icahn decided to shut down the casino on October 10 which left Atlantic City with just seven operational casinos.
Atlantic City’s casino industry has been struggling for the last 10 years as gross gaming revenues have dropped by nearly 50 percent going from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.56 billion in 2015. The casino industry continued to remain sluggish during October 2016 but it was still an improvement when compared to October 2015 as overall revenue declined by around 1 percent. If the Taj Mahal casino is removed from the equation, then the performance looks a lot better as overall revenues go up by 5.9 percent.
The seven operational casinos and the Trump Taj Mahal which operated for just 9 days in October brought in a total of $203 million which was a decline of 0.7 percent. In a statement, Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission said “For the year, the seven operating casinos are up by 3.1 percent. I anticipate the operators will continue to focus on improving their business in Atlantic City”.
The Golden Nugget casino posted the biggest monthly increase in October and brought in $20.6 million which was an increase of around 16.7 percent when compared to October 2015. The Tropicana came in second bringing in $27.9 million which was an increase of 13.5 percent. Out of the seven casinos, only two casinos reported a decline in revenues. The Resorts casino brought in $14.2 million, a decline of 3.5 percent while Bally’s brought in $16.5 million which was a decline of 2.9 percent.
However the online gambling industry in New Jersey has continued to perform well and brought in around $16.6 million in October 2016 which was a 30 percent increase when compared to October 2015. One of the main reasons for the improved performance of the online gambling market in the state is due to the introduction of PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world. While the Resorts casino reported a decline in revenue, its online gambling arm Resorts Digital had a great month in October and witnessed an increase of 204 percent when compared to the same period last year.
New Jersey voted on the North Jersey casino referendum last week and voted overwhelmingly against the proposal and as a result Atlantic City will continue to have a monopoly on the state’s casino industry. Proponents of the referendum will have to wait another two years before they can push to get the referendum back on the ballot again. Atlantic City will also get another casino in 2017 as the former Revel casino is expected to open under the new the TEN brand name.