AC casinos 2010: Another bad year

The Casino Control Commission released the 2010 casino revenue figures today. Here’s the pdf press release if you want to take a look.

For the market at large, it was close to an unmitigated disaster, with a 9.0% decline in slot revenue and 10.9% slowdown in table revenue combined to drop total casino revenues by 9.6%, to less than $3.6 billion.

To put it in perspective, that’s about halfway between the 1994 and 1995 total, not adjusted for inflation. And given that, with inflation, $3.6 billion in 1994 is worth $5.3 billion today, it’s clear that the industry’s fallen even farther behind than that.

Table play is about where it was in 1986, which shows just how anemic the table market is in Atlantic City. In a quarter-century, there’s been nearly no overall growth, not even accounting for inflation.

December had a few bright spots–the Tropicana and Trump Marina managed to win more money than they did in December 2009, chiefly at the tables. We’ll have to wait until the more detailed numbers come out to determine if this is because of a hold variance or increased handle.

But overall, it was an awful year for the casinos. Six out of AC’s eleven casinos posted double-digit declines–hardly a sign of a strong industry. The semi-Colony Capital casinos (Resorts & AC Hilton) led the pack (Resorts has just been sold) led the downward spiral with year-to-year decreases of 19.0% and 14.9%, respectively. Three Caesars Entertainment properties out-lost the market (Bally’s -10.2%, Caesars -11.2%, Showboat -10% vs. the 9.6% average decline), while Trump’s properties, with the exception of the Plaza (-13.5%) hovered right about the average loss.

The least-bad performers were Harrah’s (-7.2%), Borgata (-6.9%), and, surprisingly enough, the Tropicana (-4.2%). Who would have predicted that, in relative, terms, the Tropicana would have the best year in Atlantic City this year? Not me.

Outside of saying that three operators didn’t decline as much as anyone else, there isn’t a positive spin for 2010 for Atlantic City. This contrasts to Las Vegas, where 2010 will at worst be stagnant and will probably see a small increase in revenues.

I’ve got the semi-updated figures on the Atlantic City jurisdiction page; I’ll get the details as they are released.

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