Atlantic City runs the table; Next, the “Osaka Strip”?

It’ll take a lot more than an extra weekend day to account for a 7% spike in Atlantic City‘s gaming revenue. When you subtract the corpse of Trump Taj Mahal from the body count, the year over year comparison is an increase of 15%. Holy roulette wheel, Batman! Borgata was responsible for $60 million of the $200 million gross, with 3% more slot handle driving 6% higher win. That’s nothing in comparison to the 27% moonshot in table revenue, the more remarkable for having been achieved in a month that saw 30% less wagering.

Citywide, table revenue was up 15.5% on 10% more wagering, while a slot win improvement of 3% was driven by 2% greater coin-in. Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli identifies the Caesars Entertainment trio of properties as the main beneficiary of the Taj’s closure, up 11% and grossing $76 million. Internet gambling win was 40% higher, with Golden Nugget having the plurality of market share and Resorts Digital breathing down Borgata’s neck for second place.

The Nugget (pictured) didn’t fare quite so well with terrestrial play, down 2% on a $16.5 million gross. Only Bally’s (-2%, $17 million) held back the Caesars group. Harrah’s Resort grossed $29.5 million, up 4%, while ever-volatile Caesars Atlantic City vaulted 32% to a $29 million gross (maybe it’s the new e-sports pavilion). Resorts Atlantic City gave the Golden Nugget and Bally’s a run for their money, closing the month out at $16 million, up 25% and signal achievement for managers Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. Pace Santarelli, we think Resorts is picking off a lot of the strays from the Taj, as could be Tropicana Atlantic City, which posted a dramatic 40% increase, grossing $31 million. The reports of Atlantic City’s death having been greatly exaggerated, we can see why Hard Rock International wants to get in on the action and is willing to invest $375 million to do so.

* One state where the lack of one additional weekend day may have impacted the loot was Pennsylvania, where slot revenue was incrementally lower than last year. The Keystone State reports slot and table revenues in staggered fashion, so we’ll have to wait for a more detailed breakout.

* Another market, like Atlantic City, that has proven the naysayers wrong is Detroit. Last month saw a 5% increase, led in percentage terms by Greektown Casino (+8.5%), followed by MGM Grand Detroit (+4.5%) and MotorCity Casino (+3%).

* Global Market Advisors has big plans for Japan, proposing an “Osaka Strip” that would host several casino megaresorts. “Developing the Osaka site, with multiple operators on the ‘Osaka Strip,’ would create critical mass and a true tourist destination. This would compete with Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore in
generating nearly $11.0 billion from that district alone,” writes Managing Partner Steve Gallaway. GMA estimates the Japanese gaming market as a $24 billion opportunity — not as austere an estimate as Alex Bumazhny‘s $10 billion but more circumspect than the pie-in-the-sky $40 billion that it is regularly bandied about.

While the Japanese legislators tasked with developing gaming regulations may not care for advice from a bunch of Americans, they shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. For instance, when addressing problem gambling (already endemic in Japanese society), they could do worse than listen to Dr. Bo Bernhard, who cautions, “Responsible gaming will be one of the most important issues addressed by both the government and operators with the establishment of integrated resorts in Japan.” Well said, doc.

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