Hurricane Irene Causing Chaos Within Northeast Casino Industry
The Northeast has created a monster in the past few years when it comes to casino gambling. The region has become one of the hottest in the nation for casino action, and the growth spans not only Atlantic City, but several states across the area.
This weekend, however, the region is dealing with Hurricane Irene. Mother Nature has sent the hurricane towards the East Coast of the US, and the result has been closures to many of the top casinos along the coast. It is a situation that gaming executives are following closely.
Atlantic City is still the gaming capital of the East Coast, despite a resurgence from Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, AC casinos have only closed as a group twice until Friday. This weekend will become the third time the city has shut down its gaming establishments, and the second time it has happened due to a hurricane.
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Delaware are all in the path of Hurricane Irene, and closures have started to occur in these states as well. Pennsylvania casinos are riding a wave of momentum that began last July, when table games were introduced, but the industry will have to succumb to the same financial difficulties that casinos in other states will experience this weekend.
"The last time I saw anything like this was when Hurricane Katrina traveled along the Gulf Coast," said Kevin Gromar, who is from Louisiana, but was booked to spend the weekend in Atlantic City before reports of the storm surfaced. "When Katrina came through Louisiana, many of the casinos closed, the same for Massachusetts. I see this as a similar situation."
Residents and gaming executives alike are hoping that is where the similarities between Katrina and Irene end. Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, leaving thousands of people homeless and casinos closed for months after the storm. Irene is not expected to have as much of an impact, but weather analysts warn that these storms are unpredictable, and should be taken seriously.
Atlantic City casinos had just started to see a turnaround in revenue over the past couple of months, leaving executives to feel snake-bitten as Irene heads through New Jersey. The Fourth of July weekend in the city was responsible for much of the revenue increase in recent months, and Labor Day, less than a week away, is another big draw for casinos. If Irene does any significant damage, millions of dollars could be lost at AC casinos over the Labor Day weekend.
August 27, 2011
Posted By Terry Goodwin
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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