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Atlantic City casinos post bumper August profits

Wed, Sep 18, 7:56am by Staff Writer

Atlantic City’s casinos made something of a comeback in August, as all but two of the nine properties reported year-on-year revenue gains.

Last week, New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that Atlantic City’s nine casinos generated total brick-and-mortar slots and table game revenue of just under $286.5 million in August, a rise of 6.1 per cent compared to the same month last year, and $9.3 million higher than the total in July 2019, Calvin Ayre reports.

August’s gains were evenly spread out, as market-wide slot machine revenue rose 6.1 per cent to $208.3 million, while table games improved 6.3 per cent to $78.2 million.

Through the first eight months of 2019, brick-and-mortar gaming is up 10.1 per cent to $1.83 billion, with slots rising 9.3 per cent to $1.3 billion and table games 12 per cent higher at $519 million.

The above figures don’t include August’s record $41.1 million in online gambling win and the $11.2 million earned from the casinos’ sports betting operations.

Add up those verticals and the total casino win for the month of August was up a solid 13 per cent to $338.8 million.

This year’s slots-and-table casino win has been a repetitive tale of across the board year-on-year declines for most venues, with the exception of the Hard Rock Atlantic City and the occasional strong showing by the Borgata.

Only 2 casinos posted monthly losses

For a change, only two casinos – Harrah’s ($31.1 million, down 0.5 per cent) and the Tropicana ($31.7 million, down 1.6 per cent) were negative in August.

The market-leading Borgata showed no signs of relinquishing its crown, eking out a mild 1.5 per cent year-on-year gain to $71.9 million.

Second place went to the Hard Rock, which boosted its take by one-quarter to nearly $38.5 million, just took $200,000 shy of the property’s record performance in July.

The month’s second biggest rise went to Atlantic City’s other newcomer, Ocean Casino Resort, which grew by 22.7 per cent to $24 million, its best showing in the property’s 14-month existence.

The rest of the market was a mixed bag.

Bally’s was up 0.2 per cent to $18.7 million, while the Golden Nuggets rise was slightly higher at 0.8 per cent and $20.7 million.

Caesars was up a more sizeable amount, 10.6 per cent to $30.9 million, while Resorts Casino Hotel rose nearly 5 per cent to $18.9 million.

Eldorado buys Caesars

In the casino business, it’s the minnow swallowing the whale.

Japan Times is reporting that Eldorado Resorts Inc’s $8.58 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corp means an underdog from Reno, Nevada – a town long in the shadow of Las Vegas – will become the largest owner of casinos in the US.

In the deal announced Monday, Caesars shareholders will receive about $12.75 a share, including $8.40 in cash.

That’s a 28 per cent premium to the casino chain’s close on Friday.

While the combined company will retain the Caesars name, there’s no mistaking who’s buying whom in this transaction: Eldorado, with a market value of less than $4 billion, is clinching the giant from Las Vegas and its flagship Caesars Palace.

Eldorado’s quick ascent to the top of the industry benefited from a campaign by activist billionaire Carl Icahn, Caesars’ biggest shareholder, who pushed for a sale in recent months.

The Reno company is buying an ailing Caesars, still coping with the fallout of a 2008 leveraged buyout that left it with a mountain of debt.

But it wasn’t the only suitor: Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta proposed merging his restaurant and casino empire with Caesars last year.

Eldorado dates back to a single casino opened in Reno in 1973 by Donald Carano, a lawyer who died in 2017.

The town, which calls itself “The Biggest Little City in the World” has always been the second fiddle of Nevada’s gambling industry.

The business has grown exponentially in recent years under the direction of Tom Reeg, who is now chief executive officer and will lead the combined Eldorado-Caesars along with Chairman Gary Carano and the rest of Eldorado’s management.

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