We have a mixed bag of financial indicators from Atlantic City this week.
Let’s start with the good news: gaming reports are in, and for the first time since December 2011, they’re up.
Atlantic City casinos made $313.9 million from gaming in August of 2012, up from $278.7 million in August of last year.
In August, Revel took in $20 million in gaming revenues, $2.5 million more than they did in July, which could be why their credit was extended so quickly last month.
But whether or not this is a real revenue bump is unclear. August 2011 featured Hurricane Irene, which shut down the casinos. So is this an apples to apples comparison? Not quite.
In other good news, Resorts has been given its environmental permit to build its Margaritaville project on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, a crucial step since it will be on the actual beach. The pier is part of a $35 million expansion to the property. Should they receive the rest of their necessary permits, Resorts says they hope it will be open by Memorial Day Weekend 2013.
And now the bad: The Hard Rock Casino project, which was supposed to be the first boutique casino built in Atlantic City, is off the table – along with the jobs that would come with it. According to a statement given to the Associated Press, AC Gateway, LLC, which was behind the project, said today that they’re scrapping it “due to current market conditions.”
Those market conditions are still, despite this month’s gaming numbers, bad. I’m sure the initial disappointment in Revel’s numbers didn’t help.
The plan to add mini casinos to Atlantic City didn’t sound like a sure bet at begin with, as David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas explained in 2010.
As he pointed out then, renovating the Trump Marina into something else would be a better idea. Today, despite recent controversy, the Golden Nugget is up and running and, as Schwartz tweeted this morning, “no mini-casinos are going to open.”
The saga continues at our playground by the sea. Tune in for an update when next month’s gaming numbers roll in.