BY BOB HOLT
Hurricane Sandy is being blamed for New Jersey having the largest decline in casino revenue for 2012.
According to a survey from the American Gaming Association, gambling revenue in the U.S. rose nearly five percent for the year, taking in $37.3 billion, its highest total since 2007.
But New Jersey did not follow the trend. CBS News reports that according to the survey, Atlantic City's revenues dropped 8 percent last year to just over $3 billion. The casinos earned $5.2 billion as recently as 2006. NorthJersey.com reported that New Jersey’s casino tax revenues for 2012 sunk to $254.8 million. Money spent on gambling in Atlantic City has dropped nearly 40 percent since 2006.
Temporary closings from Hurricane Sandy is believed to have kept casino visitors away from the Jersey shore for months. Increased competition is also said to have hurt the shore casinos.
The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos earned more than the 12 in Atlantic City, with a $3.2 billion total. The Jersey Shore spots brought in $3.1 billion. AGA president and chief executive Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said, "Those that live in Philadelphia no longer have to drive to Atlantic City."
Atlantic City opened Revel last year, which has 1,399 rooms and cost $2.4 billion. According to MSN Money, in 2011, New Jersey provided $261 million in tax incentives through the Economic Development Authority after Revel’s original backer walked out. Revel has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
New Jersey will be starting Internet gambling this year in an attempt to turn the slide, and the Miss America Pageant will be returning to Atlantic City. Also, Revel will be allowing "canine family members up to 30 pounds" to be guests soon.