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Atlantic City Casino Revenue Falls Almost Ten Percent In 2011

It is no secret in the gaming industry that the Atlantic City casino industry has been struggling since the economic recession. The depths, however, to which the casinos have fallen is surprising to some who predicted that the casinos would have started to see a rebound by late 2011.

For the year, casino revenue was down 7.4% in 2001, to $494 million. That figure has dropped in every year since the recession in 2008, and with competition growing among Northeastern states, the prospects of a rebound now seem dim for the one-time gaming capital of the East Coast.

"These figures that were released this past week just emphasize what people have been saying for several years," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "The recession made it difficult to bring customers into AC casinos, and Pennsylvania and other states are making it impossible for AC casinos to get back to where they were during the recession. Tough times could be ahead."

In 2011, the profit of $494.9 million was down from the $534.6 million the previous year. The industry also was surpassed in 2011 by Pennsylvania, making New Jersey the third largest gaming market in the US. When Pennsylvania added table games last year, it became apparent to many that there was a new era in gaming across the Northeast.

"Pennsylvania came in and built new casinos that were trendy and attractive," said Dawkins. "The new casinos being built in Maryland, Maine, and now Massachusetts and New York are making it hard for the older facilities in New Jersey to compete. Revel may be the only hope for these casinos."

Revel is a project that was started before the recession, and then halted when the financial market dried up. The project restarted last year, and the new billion dollar casino resort will open with the expectation that it will attract gamblers back to Atlantic City.

One of the first orders of business over the past few years has been to fill the rooms in the hotels that were once packed to capacity. In 2011, the rooms maintained a booked capacity of around 80%. That is in stark contrast to the 95% occupancy rate the casino resorts operated at before the recession.

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