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Atlantic City numbers continue decline

12 August 2008

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "It won't be a blockbuster summer. It won't be even a ho-hum summer. Barring a miraculous turnaround in August, it's going to be one stinker of a summer for the casinos.

"The gaming industry's summer slump continued in July, with revenue falling sharply in what is usually the most important month on the casino calendar.

"Altogether, the 11 casinos took in $438.7 million in revenue at the slot machines and gaming tables, representing a 6.6 percent decline compared with $469.6 million in July 2007, according to figures released Monday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

"July's decline followed an 11 percent revenue drop in June, suggesting a weak summer is all but certain, even if trends reverse in August. It also appears 2008 will mirror 2007 as another year of declining revenue overall.

"...Revenue is down 6.1 percent to $2.7 billion for the first seven months of the year.

"...An even more dramatic comparison is this July versus July 2005, when casinos raked in an all-time record of $504.8 million in revenue. The 2005 figure is 15 percent higher than this July.

"Casinos have been hammered by the lagging economy, high gas prices, extra competition from slot parlors in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York and the lingering effects of Atlantic City's partial smoking ban.

"...Donald Trump, whose gaming company operates three casinos, said Atlantic City's revenue drop is consistent with the 5 percent to 10 percent decline that he predicted. He said pundits who anticipated a smaller decline miscalculated the competition from the newly opened Pennsylvania slot parlors.

"...In the long run, Atlantic City is counting on an array of new hotel towers, upscale retail shops and high-end restaurants to attract wealthier overnight guests who will offset the loss of daytrippers to the slot parlors in neighboring states..."

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