Atlantic City Revenue Drop Biggest in 30 Years

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(Reuters) - Atlantic City casinos revenues dropped by a record margin for the second straight month in March, officials said on Thursday, as the recession and competition from other states cut gamblers' spending.

Combined revenue from the 11 casinos in New Jersey's gaming capital dropped 19.4 percent to $318.4 million in March, compared with a year earlier, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

The latest decline, the sharpest in the city's 30-year gambling history, exceeds the previous record 19.2 percent drop in February.

Slot-machine takings slumped by 21.3 percent to $218.1 million, while table revenues decreased by 14.7 percent to $100.3 million.

The slump in revenues has helped drive three Atlantic City casinos -- those owned by Trump Entertainment -- into bankruptcy, while plans for several major new casinos have been scrapped amid the downturn.

All but one of the casinos reported annual revenue declines in March. The steepest fall was seen by the Atlantic City Hilton, down 34.8 percent; the only gain was seen at the Trump Taj Mahal where takings were up 6.3 percent.

For the first three months of 2009, overall revenue declined 16.2 percent to $950.2 million. Six casinos reported revenue declines of more than 20 percent for the year so far.

The highest revenue for March was seen in 2007 when the city recorded a total $438.3 million, the commission said.

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