ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Free from having to deal with hurricanes this year, Atlantic City's casinos saw their revenues increase by 12.6 percent in August — a rare "up" month for a resort still reeling from competition all around it.
The city's casinos took in nearly $314 million from gamblers in August, marking just the second monthly increase in four years.
But no one was popping Champagne corks just yet: The comparison was to August 2011 when Hurricane Irene forced the casinos to close for three days, causing an estimated $45 million worth of lost business during what would have been one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Revel broke the $20 million mark in casino revenues in August, an increase of more than 14 percent from its performance in July. Even so, that was still only good enough to rank Revel eighth out of the city's 12 casinos — the same spot it has occupied since it opened in April.
"We made a little progress," said Kevin DeSanctis, Revel Entertainment's CEO. "August was a good month. I don't think one month is indicative of anything, but we are making some progress. We're clearly not where we want to be."
One encouraging indicator: Revel had almost the same number of visitors come through its doors in July and August — about 630,000 — but the casino managed to coax them into leaving more money behind in the slot machines and table games in August.
Revel did not open any new restaurants or attractions in August, and it had about the same amount of hotel rooms available to rent as it did in July, about 1,400.
DeSanctis said he expects Revel to continue increasing its casino winnings each month — even as the calendar enters fall and winter, traditionally slow periods for Atlantic City casinos.
"We're in a growth phase," he said. "I don't think seasonality at this point is relevant. Everybody else has had time to settle into an expected revenue pattern. If we don't have a great September, October or November, it really is us, from a marketing perspective, as opposed to a seasonal perspective."
Atlantic City — and the entire state of New Jersey — is closely watching Revel's performance. The state granted Revel tax incentives to help it open, and last month, the $2.4 billion resort secured additional private financing that it says will give it some much-needed breathing room at least through the end of 2013.
Revel has been counted on to help revive Atlantic City's flagging fortunes. The city had its best year in 2006, when casino revenues hit a high of $5.2 billion; they fell to $3.3 billion last year, and so far this year are down an additional 4.6 percent to $2.2 billion.