ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- This is not the kind of March madness Atlantic City was hoping for.
The resort town's 12 gambling houses saw their casino revenue fall by 10.5 percent in March compared with a year ago.
The casinos took in $238.5 million last month. Of that total, nearly $173 million came from slot machines, down nearly 10 percent from March 2012, and $65.6 million came from table games, down nearly 13 percent from a year ago.
Aside from Revel, which didn't open until April 2012, only one casino saw a revenue increase last month. The Atlantic Club was up nearly 33 percent in March, to $12.6 million.
The casino, which is being bought by the PokerStars online gambling website, has been ramping up its revenue for several months, and saw its slot machine revenue increase by more than 36 percent in March, to $11.2 million.
Michael Frawley, the casino's chief operating officer, said The Atlantic Club's value pricing strategy, which it began last year to aggressively court low-rollers and gamblers seeking affordable food, drink and table games, is paying off.
"This has a lot to do with our position in the market and how it's resonating with customers," he said. "We have always felt there is a place for an affordably priced product in this market. We've worked very hard and we drove a lot of new people to this property."
The Atlantic Club did particularly well at penny slot machines during the month.
The biggest decline came at Trump Plaza Hotel Casino, which was down nearly 31 percent, to $6.8 million. It was recently sold to a California company and will be re-branded once the new owners take over later this year.
The Showboat Casino Hotel was down 24.3 percent to $16.8 million; Caesars Atlantic City was down 22.8 percent to $24.1 million; and the Tropicana Casino and Resort was down nearly 22 percent to $20 million.
Bally's Atlantic City was down 18.8 percent to $21.8 million; the Trump Taj Mahal Casino resort was down 18.7 percent to $23.4 million, and Resorts Casino Hotel was down 16.3 percent to $9.2 million.
Harrah's Resort Atlantic City was down 13.8 percent to $30.6 million; the Golden Nugget Atlantic City was down 4.1 percent to $10.7 million, and the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa was down 3.6 percent to $52.1 million, by far the highest total in the city.
Revel won $9.8 million in March, up nearly 9 percent from February. Next month will be the first year-to-year comparison for Revel, which opened April 2, 2012, and had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.
"We are heading in the right direction with the 8.9 percent growth in our gross gaming revenues month-over-month, which points to the progress and promotion enhancements in the Revel Card program," said Jeffrey Hartmann, Revel's interim CEO. "In groups, we saw 29 percent growth year-over-year for contracted room nights, and in the month of March, we hosted nearly 1,800 group room nights."
He said Alicia Keys and Rihanna will perform concerts at Revel in coming weeks, and attractions including a new high limit slot area, a noodle bar, the HQ Beach Club, and Revel's outdoor beach will all be open by Memorial Day weekend.
Part of Atlantic City's overall slot machine revenue decline for the month was due to a 20 percent decline — about $7.2 million — in the amount of promotional credits that customers wagered last month compared to the same period last year
For the first three months of this year, Atlantic City's casinos won $656 million from gamblers, down more than 12 percent from the same period a year ago.
Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC