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Atlantic City Casinos See Revenue Daylight After Nearly Four Years

The gaming revenue figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement this week represent a bittersweet feeling for Atlantic City's eleven casinos. The December figures represented the first time in nearly four years that revenue increased over the same month the previous year, but showed a decrease for the entire year.

In December, revenue at AC casinos was $246.5 million. That was up four percent over the same period in 2010. It was a figure that had many officials in New Jersey's gaming industry breathing a sigh of relief, but one that also left room for caution moving forward.

For all of 2011, AC casinos won $3.3 billion. That figure was down from the $3.6 billion that the casinos took in back in 2010. In all, the revenue figures from December was what the city's residents were focused on Tuesday evening.

"2011 has been good so far for our casinos," said New Jersey resident Sam Saulino. "First we get the news earlier this week about sports betting, and now we see that revenue increased in December. Hopefully the casino can parlay that into building some momentum heading into the new year."

Saulino was referring to a bill that passed Monday that will authorize AC casinos to open sports books. The bill is expected to be passed by Governor Chris Christie, but the state will have to get a federal law overturned before they can move forward with the sports betting plan.

Pennsylvania casinos have cut heavily into the revenue at AC gaming facilities. Two years ago, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill legalizing table games, and when the tables went live last summer, gamblers began flocking to the newer casinos in Pennsylvania. That left AC casinos scrambling to pick up the pieces on what was once considered the top gaming destination on the East Coast.

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