By WAYNE PARRY – Associated Press | AP
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Hurricane Irene blew away a historic chunk of the Atlantic City casinos’ revenue last month: The nearly 20 percent decline was the biggest monthly plunge in the 33-year history of the nation’s second-largest gambling market.
The storm forced the city’s 11 casinos to close for three days, causing an estimated $45 million worth of lost business during what would have been one of the busiest weekends of the year. The year-over-year numbers also were hurt by the fact that there was one fewer Sunday this August compared with August 2010.
The $278.8 million the gambling halls took in was down 19.8 percent, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. The previous record was set in March 2009, which saw a 19.4 percent decline.
Gov. Chris Christie ordered the casinos to close as Irene bore down on New Jersey with predictions of widespread damage.
The casinos closed around 8 p.m. on Aug. 26, a day and a half before the storm hit, to allow for the orderly evacuation of Atlantic City and surrounding shore towns. They reopened at noon on Aug. 29, the day after the storm hit. >>>continue reading<<<