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Atlantic City casinos take another dive in July

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Even with its newest gleaming casino bringing in more money, Atlantic City's lengthy losing streak stretched into July.

The city's casinos won $308.2 million from gamblers in July, down 9.5 percent from a year ago, according to a monthly revenue report issued Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The month continues a losing streak that began after the first casino in Pennsylvania opened in November 2006.

The slide continued even as Revel, a casino that opened with much fanfare in April, boosted its month-to-month revenues. The newest gambling hall brought in $17.5 million from table games and slot machines in July — up from $14.9 million in June.

At Revel, where Beyonce performed in a May concert attended by First Lady Michelle Obama, gambling revenue still ranked 8th among the city's 12 casinos.

"Each month, we've been doing a little bit better," Revel's CEO and chairman, Kevin DeSanctis, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're clearly not where we'd like to be."

He said the company hopes eventually to bring in about $30 million monthly in gambling revenue, but that it has a business model that relies more heavily on non-gambling businesses than other Atlantic City casinos do. That's why the casino was touting its 1,100 daily hotel bookings.

The city had the calendar working against it in July. July 2011 included an extra Friday and Saturday and an Independence Day that fell on a Monday, giving gamblers a chance to extend the holiday weekend.

The Fourth last month came on a Wednesday. And there was no extra weekend to boost winnings.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement said that for June and July combined, revenue was down 5.5 percent from the same period last year.

At Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa, the city's biggest money-making casino, Joe Lupo, the senior vice president for operations, said a single gambler was responsible for about half the casino's 16 percent decline from a year earlier. The gambler, he said, won $5 million in a single hot streak of a weekend.

It's not clear whether the casino should be heartened or disheartened that the big winner is a regular customer and is sure to be back.

"When you deal with the big action, you have big fluctuations like that," Lupo said.

None of the casinos did better last month than they did in July 2011.

Across the city, only two casinos that were open a year ago have had a better year so far in 2012 compared with 2012. One was Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which brought in more than $77 million, a nearly three-fold increase in revenue from a year earlier when it was in just its second full month of operating under a new name. The casino was previously Trump Marina.

The other casino with improvements was the Tropicana Casino & Resort, where revenue increased by 4.4 percent.

While a harsh calendar contributed to July's struggles in the city, the weather could boost August. Last year, casinos shut down for a weekend when Tropical Storm Irene hit the coast nearby, hurting the city's fortunes.

But last year's problems increase the chance that the city will bring in more from gamblers in the same period this year.

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