A Long December … AC Casinos Look to Avoid Lull

Monday, Jul 20, 2009  |  Updated 2:04 PM EDT
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A Long December … AC Casinos Look to Avoid Lull

AP

Gamblers play on the gaming floor at Resorts Atlantic City casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

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Next month, gamblers here will be able to run through the corridors wearing Santa hats while chasing Hooters girls; gaze at four miles of multicolored lights and 100 feet of fake snow, and attend a Sexiest Santa contest.

  And that's just in one of Atlantic City's 11 casinos.
 
It's all part of an effort to keep customers coming through the doors in what could be one of the toughest months in an already bad year for Atlantic City casinos.
 
The national recession, combined with cutthroat competition from slots parlors in Pennsylvania and New York, have taken a toll on Atlantic City gambling revenue this year.
 
For the first 10 months of the year, casino revenue is down 6.6 percent, and this will be the second year in a row that revenue will be down for the year in Atlantic City, after 28 straight years of increases.
 
Factor in the need to buy holiday presents, and gamblers figure to spend even less in the casinos in December -- if they come at all. Last December, revenues fell 10.6 percent, and that was before the bottom fell out from under the national economy.
 
"The holidays tend to have many businesses competing for customer attention," said Mark Giannantonio, president of the Tropicana Casino and Resort. "The light show, in addition to our decor, shopping, entertainment and focus on our guests throughout the season ... ultimately will give people a reason to choose Tropicana."

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