January 17, 2017

Where Did Taj Gamblers Go?

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Bill Sprouse/Route 40

When workers from the Trump Taj Mahal went on strike in July, other casinos in Atlantic City had an opportunity to move in on its customers. So where did those gamblers go?

Tropicana increased its gaming market share the most, to 13.7 percent in the second half of last year – the period that coincided with the Taj’s strike and closure – compared to 12.5 percent in the second-half 2015. Over that six-month period, Tropicana’s casino revenue increased 13 percent to $190 million from $166 million in the year-earlier July-December period.

Much of the muttering on the far end of the boardwalk during the strike centered around suspicion of a plan by Icahn Enterprises, the Taj’s owner, to close the casino in order to boost revenue at Tropicana, Icahn Enterprises’ other property. The Taj Mahal’s strike lasted until the casino closed in October.

Click here to purchase and download our month-by-month break-down of casino win by property. The data are compiled by us from New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reports. Proceeds from data purchases go toward covering Route 40’s reporting costs.

The data get interesting when analysed on a month-by-month basis because they appear to show how important promotions are for drawing gamblers to the casinos. For instance, the Taj Mahal’s closest neighbor Resorts saw a big bump in its September revenue compared to the year earlier, while Caesars had a better July. Resorts also gained some market share from Taj’s closure, increasing its casino win by 4 percent in the second half of the year.

What also stands out from the data is that the Caesars Entertainment Properties (CZR)– Harrah’s, Bally’s and Caesars–all lost gaming market share over that six-month period. Caesars Entertainment has been in a two-year battle with creditors since filing for bankruptcy protection in January 2015.

Less surprising is Borgata’s dominance. Although its share of casino win was down slightly in the second half of 2016 from the year-earlier period, the property captured almost one third of total gaming revenue.

Note – the data we analysed was limited to casino win. We did not look at revenue from hotel rooms, entertainment or food.