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Hurricane Irene Decimates Atlantic City Casino Revenue

Hurricane Irene followed in the path of Hurricane Katrina when it came to devastating casinos in the US. When the hurricane ripped through New Jersey in August, Irene left in its wake a slew of troubled Atlantic City casinos.

Hurricane Irene forced the closure of all eleven AC casinos for the better part of an entire weekend in late August. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa was one of the hardest hit by the closures, with officials estimating on Tuesday that $10 million in revenue was lost. This comes at a time when the city was still trying to rebound from the economic recession.

"This summer it looked as though Atlantic City casinos were finally starting to generate a buzz again," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "The hurricane, however, destroyed that momentum, and may have set the casinos back many months in their recover efforts. I don't think we will see a full recovery now until late next year at the earliest."

The Borgata is not the only casino to experience a tough third quarter. The casinos is the most profitable in the city, and executives believe that if not for the hurricane, the Borgata may have shown an improvement over the previous year in the third quarter. They are hoping the pre-storm attendance at the Borgata becomes the norm.

"There are reasons to be optimistic," said Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith. Boyd Gaming owns half of the Borgata, and runs several other casinos around the US. The company claims that net revenue at the Borgata for the third quarter was $202 million, down almost three percent. The earnings and revenue were both expected to increase had it not been for the storm.

On the year, the Borgata has revenue of $492.4 million. That figure is down just over one percent from the first nine months of 2010. The US casino industry as a whole has been down since the recession, although many states have expanded their gaming industries in recent years. The competition from neighboring states has caused New jersey casinos to rebound slower than some other gaming destinations in the country.

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