Atlantic City in the US has traditionally positioned itself as a gaming town for day trippers playing slots and getting some fresh sea air before heading back home on the bus. More downmarket than Vegas in other words.
But the city is sticking its nose into the baccarat market and moving some chips onto a High Roller Bet.
There’s a new kid in town, or palace should we say, and its name is Friday of Revel, a posh new 6 million + sq ft casino with over 1,800 rooms right on the city’s boardwalk.
At almost 50 stories high, the new casino is the first big project built on the island in 10 years. The new casino hotel complex is key to reviving the fortunes of a gambling city whose revenues have been heading south in recent years.
Competition in the east of the USA is hotting up, with Pennsylvania and New York targeting Atlantic City’s traditional visitors with new casinos.
New York has put video lottery machines in horse-race tracks and is changing the state law to allow casino gambling. And the Sands Casino Resort Pennsylvania opened for business in Bethlehem 3 years back, and is doing nice business,
So Atlantic City is putting on its best frock and is targeting Las Vegas type customers who gamble AND spend dollars on swanky restaurants and live shows.
Revel has a snappy design, roof-top pools, spas, posh restaurants and swanky hotel rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The convention industry is also in their sights.
This isn’t the first luxury casino to open on the east coast. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa opened in 2003. But it hasn’t balanced out the loss of business from the so called “bucket and spade gamblers”. Atlantic City revenues have sunk around 40%, to under $3 billion to the end of 2011 and Trump Casinos famously filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Not even that famous hairpiece could stop that one- and anyway the Big Man has been trumping away in Scotland and going red in the face about wind turbines.
Atlantic City’s plus points are its location on the Atlantic and distance to New York and Philadelphia.
Good luck to them. We’ll follow with interest how the New Casino does.