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Atlantic City Casinos Still Suffering

16 November 2001

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey –- As reported by the Associated Press: "Dropping quarters into a slot machine is one thing. But gamblers like Antoinette Lee are looking at risk a little differently these days, and casinos are suffering as a result.

"Lee, a 40-year-old housekeeper from Philadelphia, has stopped making her weekly bus trip to Atlantic City since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She's only been once because she sees the trip itself as a gamble.

"…Like many gamblers, Lee is willing to take risks -- but only to a point.

"To some, that point has followed the terrorist attacks, the fighting in Afghanistan and anthrax scares. Leery of flying, many people canceled planned trips to Las Vegas, triggering 15,000 layoffs and losses for Park Place Entertainment Corp., MGM Mirage Inc. and other casino companies.

"…For September, Atlantic City casino revenue was off 6.3 percent. October was a little easier, with revenues down only 1.7 percent from a year ago.

"But many people are noticing that the casinos are emptier on weekdays since the attacks.

"…For Tracey Brennan, it's fear of more attacks.

"Brennan, 30, of Staten Island, N.Y., drives to Atlantic City two or three times a month to play roulette at Resorts Atlantic City. But she hasn't come since the attacks.

"…Some gamblers are just changing their destination.

"…In the past, the casino industry sometimes seemed recession-proof. In good times, gamblers had plenty of disposable income. In bad times, they dug deeper to find it because they needed a diversion more. But the present slowdown has challenged that theory.

"`Normally, people say they forget their aches and pains and problems once they enter a casino,' said John Alcamo, a veteran gambler and author of Casino Gambling: Behind the Tables.

"`But this might be too big a pain to escape, unfortunately.'…"

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