Gaming Congress Brings Casino Leaders to A.C.

Hundreds of casino leaders from the East Coast are in Atlantic City for this annual conference, that wraps up today

By Wayne Parry/ Associated Press
|  Wednesday, May 22, 2013  |  Updated 10:05 AM EDT
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Gaming Congress Brings Casino Leaders to A.C.

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Casino industry leaders in the eastern United States are gathering in Atlantic City for an annual conference amid the fast-changing landscape for legalized gambling.
 
The East Coast Gaming Congress comes as Atlantic City struggles to reinvent itself as a destination resort, not just a slots mecca for day-trippers.

Internet gambling, which is now legal in New Jersey, will be the topic of a panel discussion this afternoon, as Wall Street experts discuss how this can help boost revenues for Atlantic City casinos.

New Jersey is one of three states, along with Nevada and Delaware, to have legalized Internet gambling. The state expects to begin taking bets online by the end of the year.

Atlantic City's casino market as a whole saw its gambling revenue decline by 12.1 percent last month compared with a year ago.

Figures released earlier in May by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the 12 gambling halls took in $228.5 million.

Revenue from table games was $66.8 million, down 6 percent from April 2012. Slot machine revenue was $161.7 million, a 14.4 percent decrease due in part to the impact of a nearly 16 percent reduction in the amount of promotional credits that were wagered compared with the same month last year.

Atlantic City's newest casino, Revel, formally completed a Chapter 11 restructuring yesterday that saw it wipe away $1.2 billion of its $1.5 billion in debt, in return for granting lenders an 82 percent ownership stake.
 
Revel posted a $149 million operating loss from its April 2, 2012, opening through the end of March 2013.
 
It now has $272 million in debt. Yet it still does not expect to turn a steady profit until the summer of 2014.

Aside from Revel, the greatest decline was experienced at Trump Plaza Hotel Casino, which is in a tenuous position as a deal to sell it by the end of this month to a California company fell through.

Trump Plaza was down 32.3 percent to just over $6 million for the month, one of the worst performances for an Atlantic City casino in recent history.

Only Caesars Atlantic City (up 5.9 percent to $29.1 million) and The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel (up nearly 37 percent to $11.3 million) reported revenue increases in April.

Resorts is hoping for a boost when it opens its Margaritaville complex on Friday, featuring a Jimmy Buffett-themed entertainment and gambling section.

 


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