Good start to 2017 for Atlantic City casinos, up 7.7 percent

Atlantic City's casinos are off to a good start in 2017, with their January gambling revenue up 7.7 percent from a year ago

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Atlantic City's casinos are off to a good start in 2017, with their January gambling revenue up 7.7 percent from a year ago.

Figures released Tuesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the seven casinos took $204.6 million from gamblers in January. They were helped once again by a nice boost from internet gambling, which brought in $18.8 million for the month. That's an increase of 28.6 percent from a year ago.

All seven casinos posted revenue increases, led by Caesars, which was up more than 41 percent, to $28.2 million.

The figures are encouraging for the struggling seaside gambling resort, which has seen five of its 12 casinos shut down since 2014, most recently the Trump Taj Mahal in October. Excluding the Taj Mahal, revenue for the seven surviving casinos was up by 15.2 percent last month.

The comparison was helped somewhat by the fact that a major winter storm blasted the region in January 2016, making travel dangerous and keeping some customers from venturing to Atlantic City. But another winter storm of a lesser magnitude hit the state in January 2017 as well.

The storm "effectively wiped out a full weekend last year" and "is one of the big reasons why revenues for the current casinos jumped by 15.2 percent last month," said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

There were fewer weekend days this January and most of the New Year's holiday weekend fell in December, but revenue nevertheless increased at slots, table games and from internet operations.

The Borgata had its best January ever, taking in $64.3 million, an increase of 13.5 percent.

Harrah's was up 1.1 percent to $28.1 million; Tropicana was up 14 percent to $27.3 million; Golden Nugget was up 20.2 percent to $23 million; Bally's was up 0.6 percent to $14 million; and Resorts was up 8.6 percent to $12.3 million.

In the hotly contested internet gambling market, the Golden Nugget ($4.7 million) and Caesars Interactive NJ ($4 million) both surged ahead of longtime leader Borgata ($3.7 million) in January. Resorts Digital surged by more than 120 percent to $3.1 million, and Tropicana was up 6.5 percent to $3 million.

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Follow Wayne Parry at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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