PHILADELPHIA — Gross revenue from Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos rose 4.4 percent last year to more than $3.1 billion, further cementing the state’s status as the second-largest U.S. gambling market as the Atlantic City market saw another decline.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported the state’s 11 casinos brought in nearly $3.16 billion in gross revenue from slot machines and table games last year, up from just over $3 billion in 2011. The figures were boosted by growth in table games, which generated $687.4 million in gross revenue last year, up about 11 percent from the year before. Earlier this month, the state reported revenues from slot machines in 2012 were $2.47 billion, up about 2.7 percent from 2011.
Tuesday’s official announcement that Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, via its consulting arm, Mohegan Gaming Advisors, will assume management of Resorts Casino-Hotel seems to be a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
It’s certainly big news that the financially beleaguered gaming hall — the oldest legal casino east of Nevada — has exponentially increased its chances for long-term survival via the newly forged partnership with Mohegan Sun (which is pending state regulatory approval), as well as through the recently consummated deal that will turn a sizable portion of Resorts real estate over to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand. But there is a much larger picture here.
For all the of the “experts’” braying about Atlantic City’s gambling industry suffering a terminal case of competitionitis, the fact is that AyCee has recently seen a large infusion of investments – upwards of $200 million, not including Revel’s $2.4 billion price tag.
If the town were indeed “dying,” why would such big-time outfits as Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and Golden Nugget expend so many resources, financial and otherwise, on the seaside resort? We can assume the folks running these companies are not completely clueless and incompetent. Which leaves the possibility that the smart money sees a rosy future for Atlantic City as a big-time destination.
I am not surprised to learn that Atlantic City is taking a huge hit from all the recent casino development in surrounding states. Rising gas prices and a major recession are not helping things either.
Pennsylvania, under Fast Eddie, became a gambling state. Our casinos are spread out across the state, not all in one place. This seems to be a better strategy than New Jersey. 10 casinos are now operating in Pennsylvania. Atlantic City has 11.
I am sure Atlantic City depended on throngs of people from Pennsylvania coming there to gamble and spend money. Pennsylvania may very well pass Atlantic City as the number two gambling market in the U.S. in the years to come. Pennsylvania casino income is expected to grow to $2.7 billion dollars in 2011 while Atlantic City’s 2011 casino income is expected to fall to $3.09 billion dollars.
The last time I drove to Atlantic City, it was a ridiculously expensive trip. Bridge tolls, Atlantic City Expressway tolls, parking and gas made it a $50 trip before I set foot in a casino or shop. I went down for an afternoon to meet friends from high school who were staying at a casino. I will not be making that trip again.
Time will tell if Atlantic City can rebound or if Pennsylvania will unseat Atlantic City as the number two spot in the U.S. for gambling.