Skift Take

Casinos saw little return on the millions that New Jersey spent on post-Sandy summer marketing; however, hotels were close to full, signaling a strong start to the shore’s most important season.

A big Memorial Day weekend, highlighted by the debut of a handful of glitzy new casino projects, failed to push revenue higher in May for the struggling Atlantic City gambling industry.

The 12 casino hotels took in $253.1 million from their slot machines and table games in May, down 4 percent from the same month last year, according to figures released today by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Although revenue continues to fall this year, May’s figures reflected some modest improvement in the market. May represented the first month in 2013 that revenue did not plunge by double-digit margins.

Casinos rolled out a series of new attractions in hopes of a blockbuster Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the peak summer tourism season. The projects included a $35 million Margaritaville-themed expansion at Resorts Casino Hotel, a new nightclub at Golden Nugget Atlantic City and a new beach club at Revel.

Several casinos reported that their hotel rooms were either sold out or nearly booked up for the holiday weekend, suggesting strong visitation for the resort town to kick off summer.

It appears singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville bar, restaurant and casino project immediately boosted Resorts’ results. Atlantic City’s oldest casino saw revenue jump 20 percent in May, second only to the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel’s market-leading 25 percent increase for the month.

Revel, the city’s newest casino, continued to slump following its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. Revel posted just $11.2 million in gambling revenue, second to last among all casinos and 20 percent lower than the nearly $14 million the megresort grossed in May 2012.

(c)2013 The Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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