Summertime's nearly here, and the living is getting easier for Atlantic City's casino operators with the busiest and most profitable time of the year arriving as the industry is on a roll.
Atlantic City's casinos saw their gambling revenue increase by 4.3 percent in May compared with a year ago, to more than $229 million. And if the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal were removed from the equation, the seven surviving casinos would have posted a 12-percent increase last month.
Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement also show the continued steady rise of internet gambling revenue in the largest online market in the country. Online gambling revenue was up more than 27 percent in May to $21 million, just below the record monthly total set in April.
The numbers also show the Golden Nugget surging to the top of New Jersey's hotly contested internet gambling market in May, blowing past a crowded field of competitors to take the lead.
Only Bally's saw a revenue decrease in May, and it was a minuscule decline of 0.3 percent, to $18.1 million.
The figures are the latest indication that after a brutal period of contraction in which five casinos shut down and more than 11,000 jobs were lost, the Atlantic City casino industry has regained its footing in a smaller market with less competition — at least for now.
"That's a great start to the summer," said Matt Levinson, chairman of the new Jersey Casino Control Commission. "With all of the events planned around the city for the summer, I anticipate we will see casino revenues continue to increase."
"With a solid performance to date and now on the cusp of the busy summer season, the Atlantic City casino industry seems well positioned to capitalize on these positive trends," added David Rebuck, director of the Gaming Enforcement division.
As usual, the Borgata led the market, winning $71.8 million in May, an increase of 10.6 percent from May 2016.
A resurgent Tropicana claimed second place with $32.8 million, up 21.5 percent from a year ago, and Harrah's was third at $29.5 million, up 0.2 percent.
Caesars ($29.4 million) had the largest percentage increase, up 23.6 percent; the Golden Nugget won $24.5 million, up 17 percent, and Resorts won $15.3 million, up 9.8 percent.
The Golden Nugget surged to first place in Atlantic City's internet gambling market, winning $5.9 million online. Resorts Digital and Tropicana were virtually tied at $4 million each, while Caesars Interactive won $3.6 million and Borgata, which led the online market for much of its early operations, won nearly $3.5 million.
For the month, the casinos won $144 million at slot machines, down 3.6 percent, and $64.3 million at table games, up 19.2 percent.
Through the first five months of this year, Atlantic City's casinos have won $1.07 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
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