Irene Slams A.C. Casinos

While they reported little physical damage from Hurricane Irene, Atlantic City casinos took a severe hit in revenue for the month of August. The popular gambling destinations were forced to go dark while the hurricane moved through the area.

New Jerseys Division of Gaming Enforcement reported a 19.8% decline in revenue last month for Atlantic Citys 11 casinos, marking the largest monthly decline in the history of Atlantic City gambling.

Casinos in Atlantic City lost millions of dollars as a result of the storm, according to the Associated Press. In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered the casinos to close for three days during a typically busy weekend for the city.

In August, the casinos took in a total of $278.8 million. Slot machines generated $193.7 million in winnings, a 21% decline when compared to August 2010. Revenue from table games fell to $85.1 million for a decline of 17%.

Atlantic City casinos have won $2.3 billion since the start of the year, down 8.7% from the first eight months of 2010.

The casinos shut down on the night of Friday, Aug. 26, prior to the storm making landfall in Little Egg Inlet, N.J., the next day. Atlantic City and surrounding towns on New Jerseys shore were in the process of being evacuated.

Most of Atlantic Citys casinos saw revenue declines of over 20% during the month of August. Bally's Atlantic City took in $30.4 million, a decline of 22% over August 2010. The Showboat Casino Hotels winnings fell by 25.4%, as it brought in only $21.6 million. Harrah's Resort Atlantic City was down 21.4% and reported $34.9 million in winnings.

The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel Casino posted the worst numbers of all 11 casinos. The hurricane and mandatory closure helped drive winnings down 35.5% to $25.9 million for the Taj Mahal, while the Plaza Hotels winnings were down 34.9% to $11 million.

The Golden Nugget, the only area casino to keep its hotel and restaurants operational during the storm, saw a 14.1% decline, bringing in only $11.2 million.