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Revenue report due as Atlantic City casinos close

First Published      Last Updated Aug 13 2014 01:54 pm

Atlantic City, N.J. • When the pressure of an oversaturated market became unbearable this year, some of Atlantic City's oldest casinos either closed their doors or announced plans to do so.

Now, Revel Casino Hotel, the city's newest casino — and one of its most opulent — is joining them in the casino graveyard.

Amid this dire scenario, New Jersey regulators released a report Wednesday that said Atlantic City's casinos took in 11 percent less from gamblers in July than they did a year ago.

Figures released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the 11 casinos won $274 million in July, compared with $297.1 million in July 2013. That includes $10 million in Internet gambling revenue, which was up by about $500,000 from June.

The numbers come as Atlantic City's casino market is undergoing a rapid, unprecedented contraction. It started the year with 12 casinos, but will have eight before fall.

The Showboat is set to close on Aug. 31, followed by Revel on Sept. 10, and Trump Plaza six days later. The Atlantic Club closed in January.

Revel announced its plans to shut down because of uncontrolled expenses, not enough revenue and an unforgiving market that has decided 12 casinos was four too many. The $2.4 billion resort that was widely seen as the last, best chance for Atlantic City's gambling market was unable to find a buyer for even pennies on the dollar.

In addition to putting 3,100 people out of jobs and hurting state and local budgets, Revel's demise shows just how cutthroat the East Coast casino market has become, and how difficult it is for even the newest and nicest gambling halls to survive in an oversaturated market.

Despite the loss of nearly 8,000 casino jobs overall — a quarter of the gambling market's workforce — some analysts say that contraction is exactly what the market needs, and that Atlantic City cannot support 12 casinos any longer with newer options closer to home for gamblers in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Maryland.