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New Jersey casino 1st quarter profits plunge

Wayne Parry, Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Atlantic City's casinos saw their gross operating profits plunge by more than 63 percent in the first three months of this year.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the 12 gambling halls posted a collective gross operating profit of $41.4 million. That's down from $114.4 million in the same period last year.

Excluding Revel, which opened in April 2012, seven of Atlantic City's casinos saw their profits decline in the first quarter of this year compared with the same quarter last year.

Despite the gloomy numbers, many casino executives and industry analysts at the East Coast Gaming Congress, the annual casino convention in Atlantic City, said Wednesday they believe Atlantic City's market is stabilizing, and that better days are ahead. Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, the world's largest casino company and one that owns four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos, said the city's outlook is improving.

"The news is quite good," he said, "We've been through a difficult time. We are in a period where we can feel more optimistic."

Larry Mullin, former head of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa who is now chief operating officer of Seminole Gaming in Florida, agreed.

"It isn't as bad as people say," he told the conference. "I think this market will be here for a long time."

Resorts Casino Hotel lost more than $6 million for the quarter, which was more than 78 percent worse than a year ago.

Others reporting losses included Trump Plaza, whose $1.3 million loss nonetheless represented a nearly 8 percent improvement from the first quarter of 2012; the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, whose $2.1 million loss was 57 percent better than a year ago; and The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, whose $3.3 million loss was 44 percent better than a year ago.

Revel, which emerged from bankruptcy court on Tuesday, posted an operating loss of more than $40 million for the quarter.

The Borgata posted the largest operating profit, at $29.3 million, but that still represented a decline of nearly 27 percent from last year.

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City saw a profit of nearly $28 million, down 12.3 percent from last year. Caesars Atlantic City had a $12 million profit, which was down by a third from last year.

Bally's Atlantic City saw an $8.6 million profit, down more than 60 percent from the same period last year, and the Showboat Casino Hotel saw an $8.4 million profit, down 29 percent from last year.

The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort saw a profit of $6.7 million, down nearly 19 percent from a year ago, and The Tropicana Casino and Resort saw a $1.9 million profit, up from a $1.5 million loss in the first quarter of 2012.

Gross operating profit includes earnings before interest, taxes and other charges, and is a widely accepted measure of profitability in the casino industry.


Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC