It could easily have been predicted, but that does not mean that the Atlantic City drop in revenue following the wake of Hurricane Sandy is going to hit the casino industry there any softer. The aftermath of the tropical storm has left casinos reeling in the biggest monthly revenue decline in the history of gambling in the city, even though the casinos themselves were virtually untouched and many were able to open mere hours after the governor relaxed the order to shut down for the duration of the storm.
With the casinos having shut down for four days, as we previously reported, there was not much scope for anyone to be taking any revenue on their slot machine games or roulette wheels. When Hurricane Irene closed the city down for three days in August 2011, there was a nineteen point eight per cent drop in revenue – but this time it was worse, with nineteen point nine per cent, despite the fact that the casinos have already had a bad year and have seen drops during other months simply because not as many people are interested in going out there to gamble any more. Since the casinos closed on October 28th and did not reopen until November 2nd at the earliest, with the last reopening on November 5th, it is likely that the November revenues will also be bad – perhaps even worse than this, since residents of the city that might otherwise have been gambling have instead been preoccupied with getting repairs to their homes and assessing the damage. “This is essential for us — it’s our lifeblood, the iconic Boardwalk,” said Liza Cartmell, CEO of the Atlantic City Alliance, when speaking of the fact that the resorts have come through mostly unscathed – something that the city is now keen to publicize to bring players back.
Reports had previously suggested that the Boardwalk had been totally destroyed, but in fact it was only a one or two block stretch that was wrecked – and this area had been damaged before, and was sealed off to pedestrians even before Sandy struck.