From the Press of Atlantic City:
The nation’s commercial casino industry experienced a slump in jobs, revenue and tax receipts in 2009, with Atlantic City suffering the most among all the gaming markets.
A report released Thursday by the American Gaming Association showed that gaming revenue sank 5.5 percent to $30.74 billion last year in the 13 states that have commercial casinos. Of those states, eight had revenue declines. Indian-owned casinos were not included in the report.
“I don’t think there is any way to sugarcoat it. The past year was tough,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the gaming association’s president and chief executive officer. “The down economy dealt most Americans challenges we haven’t faced in some time, if ever. For those of us in the commercial casino industry, that meant people had less money to spend on our products.”
The recession has driven down gaming revenue nationwide for two years in a row. In addition, casino employment fell 8.1 percent nationally last year and tax revenue generated by the gaming industry was off nearly 2 percent, to $5.59 billion, the gaming association said in its annual “State of the States” report.
Nowhere was the revenue drop steeper than in Atlantic City, where winnings from slot machines and table games plunged 13.3 percent to $3.9 billion. New Jersey also had the sharpest decline in casino tax revenue, down 18.6 percent to $347.6 million.
From the Philly Inquirer:
New Jersey – with its 11 casinos in Atlantic City – saw the largest decrease in both gaming revenue (minus-13.3 percent) and tax revenue (down 18.6 percent) due to the weak economy and increased competition, mainly from Pennsylvania casinos.
Pennsylvania reported the largest revenue increase among the 13 states with commercial casinos – up 21.6 percent – as it continued to expand its industry and added two casinos last year – the Sands Resort Casino in Bethlehem and the Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh’s waterfront.
Pennsylvania was one of the four states with commercial casinos that saw their gambling and tax revenues increase last year. It was also one of only three states to report an increase in employment at its racetrack casinos: up 17.2 percent from a year earlier.
New Jersey, on the other hand, saw a 5.7 percent decrease in employment at its casinos. The state went from having 38,585 casinos workers in 2008 to 36,377 last year.