PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) -- Casinos in Atlantic City reported a 19.2 percent drop in revenues in February, the sharpest annual decline in the 30-year history of gaming in New Jersey’s gambling capital, state authorities said on Tuesday.
The city’s 11 casinos together reported casino “win”, or revenue, of $310.3 million in February, down from $384.1 million in February 2008, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission said. Before February, the biggest year-over-year drop was in December 2008 when revenue fell 18.7 percent.
For the first two months of 2009, the industry reported revenue of $631.7 million, down 14.5 percent from the same period of 2008.
The industry’s deepening slump reflects a weakening national economy and increased competition from new slots parlors in neighboring Pennsylvania, said Daniel Heneghan, a spokesman for the commission.
“The overall economy continues to decline,” said Heneghan. “It’s not a great surprise that it’s reflected in what’s happening in the casino industry.”
Atlantic City is set to face even stiffer competition this summer when a new casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is expected to draw gamblers from that state and from New York and northern New Jersey.
Atlantic City’s economic problems were intensified on February 17 when Trump Entertainment, owner of three of the city’s casinos, filed for bankruptcy. The Trump casinos reported revenue declines of between 17 and 27 percent in February.
Every other casino also reported a drop in revenues, from 5.8 percent at the Borgata to 29.6 percent at Caesars.
The city’s highest February revenue was recorded in 2006 when casinos took in $397.4 million, the commission said.