Hurricane Sandy silences Atlantic City's casinos
Hurricane Sandy has silenced the thousands of slot machines and high-rollers who normally crowd the black jack and roulette tables of Atlantic City, but the resort's casino companies wager they could be back in business within days.
The storm that swept up the East Coast of the United States on Monday made landfall near Atlantic City, ripping up several blocks of its famous boardwalk and tearing roofing off casinos and hotels.
Atlantic City's dozen casinos were shuttered on Tuesday as owners assessed damage to an already ailing gambling business that for decades has defined this New Jersey tourist destination.
We do have extensive damage to the roofs of some of the properties, said Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, Nevada, which operates four casinos in Atlantic City.
Thompson said workers were tallying significant damage to the upper floors of some of the casinos. He said crews might be able to patch up facilities with the goal of resuming business soon after the state of New Jersey lifts its emergency declaration.
It is possible that hotels will reopen Thursday night and the casinos Friday morning. But those are very rough estimates, Thompson said.
Officials at other casinos were not available for comment. Recorded messages informed callers they were shuttered during the weather emergency and were refunding guests' reservations.
Some industry experts were estimating millions of dollars in lost revenues. Thompson said his company carries insurance for business interruption and for property damage.
David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Las Vegas, said he did not think there would be any longer term impact beyond a few days worth of lost business.
Nonetheless, Hurricane Sandy was just one more assault on an industry that has suffered from growing competition and a sluggish economy that has consumers guarding their savings.
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