|By Suzette Parmley, The Philadelphia
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 10, 2005 - ATLANTIC CITY -- Eight of the city's 12 casinos reported revenue growth for last month. The Tropicana, which continues to benefit from the popularity of its new mega-retail, entertainment and dining complex, the Quarter, led the casinos with double-digit revenue growth.
The resort's casinos generated about $400 million in total gambling revenue in November, a 6.6 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to figures released yesterday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
"Generally, it's a good, solid number," analyst Larry Klatzkin, managing director of New York-based Jefferies & Co., said. "Atlantic City continues to do well."
Klatzkin said that the calendar and weather had little effect on last month's numbers, and that the growth was fueled by strong demand for the casinos' new offerings, including new restaurants and retail shops.
Tropicana led the pack with a nearly 25 percent surge in revenue. Caesars, Harrah's Atlantic City, Resorts and Showboat casinos also registered double-digit increases in revenue. The five casinos have each upgraded in the last year to attract non-gamblers and retain customers. For instance, Resorts added a new hotel tower, Showboat a new concert hall, and Harrah's a new theater.
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continued its dominance as the city's top grossing casino. It took in $55.3 million, followed by Bally's at $52.3 million and Caesars with $42.8 million.
Boyd Gaming Corp., which co-owns the Borgata with MGM Mirage, announced Wednesday that it planned to build a slots parlor in Limerick Township, Montgomery County. Boyd is competing for one of 14 highly coveted gambling licenses in Pennsylvania, where some slot parlors are expected to open by mid-2007.
"I would come here for a couple days, and Pennsylvania for a day-trip," said Kevin Hodges, as he played a nickel slot machine at the Borgata this week.
Hodges, 47, from Baltimore, is the type of overnight customer that Atlantic City casinos will be fighting ferociously to keep amid new gambling competition. The Borgata is in the midst of a $500 million expansion, and Harrah's Entertainment just announced a $550 million expansion to Harrah's Atlantic City. Both casinos are adding hotel towers.
"We're well-positioned for anything that might happen from competing jurisdictions," Larry Mullin, Borgata's chief operating officer, said.
Slot machines made up 72.5 percent, or $290 million, of total revenue. Table games were $110 million. Year-to-date, table games revenue was up 7 percent -- more than twice the 3.2 percent growth rate for slots.
The Borgata finished first in table games revenue with $21.8 million, while Bally's was the slots leader with $38 million.
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