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Atlantic City Strike Leads to Mixed Results

12 November 2004

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "The monthlong strike in which thousands of union workers walked off the job at seven casinos was bad for business. It was also good for business.

"Overall, it was the highest-grossing October on record for the 12 gaming halls, with revenue inching up 1.9 percent to $388.1 million for the month, according to figures released Wednesday by the state Casino Control Commission.

"Five of the seven casinos that were hit by the walkout suffered revenue declines, while the five nonstrike properties all enjoyed an increase in business - in some cases reaping huge gains at the slot machines and table games.

"The contentious strike, which began Oct. 1 and involved 10,000 members of Local 54 of Unite Here, disrupted operations at Caesars Atlantic City, Bally's Atlantic City, Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, Resorts Atlantic City, Harrah's Atlantic City, the Showboat Casino Hotel and Tropicana Casino and Resort.

"…Hit hardest were the three Caesars Entertainment Inc. casinos - Caesars, Bally's and the Hilton. Revenue plummeted 20.5 percent at Bally's, 19 percent at Caesars and 14.4 percent at the Hilton.

"Caesars and Bally's were at times the focal point of the strike, in the heart of the Boardwalk casino district. On Oct. 8, the union staged a mass sit-in at the base of the Atlantic City Expressway, cutting off traffic flow on the streets feeding Caesars and Bally's just as the Columbus Day holiday weekend was beginning.

"…Sister properties Harrah's and Showboat, both owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc., also saw revenue fall for the month, but not as sharply as the Caesars casinos. Harrah's was down 7.2 percent and Showboat 4.2 percent.

"Surprisingly, Resorts and Tropicana were both in positive territory, despite the strike. Resorts, still benefiting from the drawing power of its new $125 million hotel tower, posted a nearly 16 percent increase in October revenue. Tropicana's revenue was up 3.2 percent overall thanks to a 34 percent gain at its gaming tables.

"…The Trump casinos also were able to poach business from strike-disrupted competitors. Revenue rose 24.4 percent at Trump Marina Hotel Casino, while Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was up 15.4 percent. The flagship Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort posted a 10.3 percent increase in revenue.

"The Sands, the city's smallest casino, finished October with a 4 percent gain in revenue. Table-game revenue fell at the Sands, but the decline was offset by an 8.3 percent increase in slot business.

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