With Rebound In Sight, AC Casinos Brace For Hurricane Irene
The Atlantic City casino gambling industry is stuck in a rut similar to the one Louisiana casinos experienced for the past five years. After several economic setbacks, it now appears as though Mother Nature will slow revenue at AC casinos this weekend.
Back in 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana, causing severe damage, and several closures of popular casinos in the state. Just when the casinos were rebounding from the catastrophe, the economic recession put the Louisiana gaming facilities back in economic disaster.
In New Jersey, the same set of circumstances have occurred, only in opposite order. The recession of 2008 started the economic slide at AC casinos, and now it appears Mother Nature will play her part in slowing the industry. Hurricane Irene is heading right for the Northeast, and Atlantic City has already began preparations.
"We will probably voluntarily close at some point," Robert Griffin, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Right now, everything is open. But I'd make the leap of faith to believe that at some point over the weekend, there will be closures."
Atlantic City casinos are not well-versed in the practices associated with a hurricane. The gaming industry has been around in the city for thirty-three years, and casinos have been shut down only twice. This will be only the second time that a hurricane caused the closures.
Despite the recent revenue struggles, Atlantic City remains the second largest gaming market in the US, behind Las Vegas. Pennsylvania is expected to pass New Jersey in casino gaming revenue by the end of 2012. Friday will be a big day for gamblers, with casino executives expected to meet in the early afternoon to decide whether to close their facilities.
Gamblers have already started making alternate plans. Several travelers that we spoke to on Thursday asserted that they would be checking out of their hotels later in the day, and heading back to their homes in Indiana and Ohio, respectively. Others have chosen to ride out the storm, but come Friday, they may have no choice but to evacuate.
August 26, 2011
Posted By April Gardner
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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