ATLANTIC CITY – An extra Friday, good luck, better weather and maybe pent-up demand led the local casino industry to its second-best month ever in August.
The dozen casinos won $426.9 million from gamblers last month, an increase of 5.3 percent over the same period last year, according to unofficial figures obtained by The Press of Atlantic City.
The amount trails only July 2000, when the casinos won $429.3 million, in the industry’s ranking of highest-grossing months.
It was a pleasing end-of-summer result for the industry, which reported revenue declines in June and July. Gross gambling revenue during the three-month summer period was $1.2 billion, down 0.3 percent.
“This summer has been almost like a roller coaster. In July (gamblers) decide they do not want to come on weekends and last month they decide they do,” Sands Casino Hotel President Alfred Luciani said.
Several factors worked to the industry’s advantage last month:
 Compared to last year’s August there was an extra Friday, which this year kicked off a packed Labor Day weekend in the city.
 Casinos had good luck at the gaming tables, keeping 16.8 percent of the money exchanged into chips compared to 15.7 percent a year earlier.
 Better weather compared to last year’s wet and relatively cool August.
Another, intangible factor may have helped casinos, Resorts Atlantic City President Audrey Oswell said.
“Perhaps there was too much focus on the economy in July and by August people realized that it wasn’t as bad as the publicity had led them to believe it was. So they had cabin fever and came out in August,” Oswell said.
“August started out strong for everybody and I believe it kept going right through Labor Day,” she said.
Through the first eight months this year, citywide Online Casino Singapore revenue was $2.9 billion, 0.6 percent behind last year’s pace. The industry has never reported an annual revenue decline in its 23 years.
“I think we’re going to finish the year slightly ahead,” Oswell said. “I think the high-end table (games) business isn’t what it used to be and that’s more reflective of the stock market and what’s going on in the economy. The slot numbers remain strong.”
Citywide slot-machine revenue, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of the industry’s business, rose 5.7 percent to $307.2 million. Table-games revenue rose 4.4 percent to $119.8 million.
Sands reported the biggest percentage gain in overall casino revenue, up 19.2 percent to $23.8 million, due mostly to a big swing of good luck compared to a year ago.
“For me, this is basically just what we should be doing,” Luciani said. “In the beginning, before this economy started going backward, we had budgeted for 6 percent growth and that’s what we did (in slot revenue).”
The Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort reported an 11.7 percent revenue gain due to a return to normal luck at the tables.
Revenue increased 8.9 percent at Resorts, including a 15.6 percent jump in slot revenue.
“Our new slot area (opened two months ago) has really helped us. We’re getting a lot more traffic coming in that door from neighboring properties,” Oswell said.
The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was revenue king for the month at $58.8 million, down 1.5 percent from the citywide monthly record it set a year earlier.
Gross gambling revenue is the amount casinos win from gamblers after all payouts have been made. It is not profit, which is determined after casinos pay for goods and services, taxes, debt and other items.
The unofficial figures are subject to change before submission to the state Casino Control Commission next week. They exclude simulcasting revenue, which is taxed separately and omitted from the state report.
Citywide simulcasting revenue for August was $1.1 million.