Although U.S. gaming revenue will grow 5 percent from $57.5 billion in 2010 to $73.3 billion in 2015, casino income in Atlantic City, N.J., will continue to fall during the same five-year period, eventually bottoming out at $2.8 billion annually, local newspaper The Press of Atlantic City reported last week, citing a new research report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Titled "Global Gaming Outlook: The Casino and Online Gaming Market to 2015," the PwC report predicts that Atlantic City — America's second-largest gaming destination — will be the only U.S. market where casino revenue is lower in 2015 than it was in 2010.
The reason, according to PwC: While other destinations will be helped by the economic recovery and continued expansion in regional casino markets, Atlantic City has been too severely harmed by the recession, as well as increased competition from casinos in Pennsylvania.
"[Of] all the segments of the U.S. casino gaming industry, the Atlantic City market is at the greatest risk from the combined impacts of economic uncertainty and intensifying competitive pressures from regional casinos," the report states. "These worries are being borne out by our projections, with Atlantic City set to be the only segment of the U.S. market whose revenues will be lower in 2015 than 2010."
Many locals disagree with the projections, according to The Press of Atlantic City, which cited several positive developments that could change the city's fortune, including the grand opening of the $2.4 million Revel casino in summer 2012 and the creation of a new $30 million-per-year marketing fund to promote the city as a tourist destination.
"I think with the opening of Revel and the Atlantic City Alliance, you're going to start to see Atlantic City rebound," Tony Rodio, president and CEO of Tropicana Casino and Resort, told the paper, acknowledging that continued competition from surrounding states — particularly New York, where politicians currently are discussing gaming expansion measures — could spell trouble. "If and when New York gets table games, that certainly will hurt."