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Atlantic City casino revenue slide slows

Atlantic City's three-year losing streak may finally be coming to an end.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Atlantic City's three-year losing streak may finally be coming to an end.

Casino revenues in the nation's second-largest gambling market were down less than 1 percent in April, indicating a prolonged slide may finally be leveling off.

The city's 11 casinos won $311.5 million in April, a decrease of 0.7 percent over the same month a year ago.

April's decline was the smallest in 20 months. Atlantic City eked out a 0.7 percent increase in August 2008.

But the joy may be short-lived: Two neighboring states will soon start offering table games and competing even more directly with Atlantic City.

"It's really good to see that in April the market seemed to be stabilizing," said Mark Giannantonio, president of the Tropicana Casino and Resort. "That's been the case over the last several months. But the months to come are going to be the real challenge as a result of table games in Delaware and Pennsylvania."

Revenue at table games was $95.6 million, an increase of nearly 3 percent. Slot machines brought in $215.8 million, a decrease of 2.2 percent.

Casino analyst Cory Morowitz said the growth in table games is particularly good news for Atlantic City.

"It's an indication that the economy is coming out of its doldrums, and that's a good thing for Atlantic City, regardless of what's happening on our borders," he said. "It means Atlantic City seems to be nearing a level of equilbrium, but they still have a lot of work to do."

For the first four months of this year, casinos won $1.17 billion, down 7.6 percent from the same period in 2009. But that number was skewed by a 15.7 percent hit in February due to three major snowstorms.

Atlantic City has been in a revenue slump since the first slots parlors opened in late 2006 in neighboring Pennsylvania. There are now nine.

Four casinos posted revenue increases in April, and three others had declines of less than 5 percent.

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City turned in the biggest gain of the month, up 13.3 percent to $41.5 million. The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort rose 6.6 percent to $34.4 million, and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa ($56.1 million) and Caesars Atlantic City ($36.3 million) each rose 2.4 percent.

The biggest decline was posted by the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, where revenue fell 15.3 percent to $14.3 million. Resorts Atlantic City, which handed itself over to its lenders last December because it could no longer pay its mortgage, dropped 14.2 percent to $13.9 million.

Trump Marina Hotel Casino fell 12.9 percent to $11.8 million, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino dropped 7.2 percent to $16.4 million.

Bally's Atlantic City fell 4.3 percent to $37.2 million, the Tropicana dipped 3.6 percent to $24 million, and the Showboat Casino Hotel fell 3.2 percent to $25 million.