Atlantic City Casinos Suffer Drop in Visitors

Posted on March 20th, 2011

Despite the fact that online gambling is booming (or maybe because of it), the US´s second biggest casino town, Atlantic City has suffered a 6% drop in visitor numbers.

More than 25 million people headed to Atlantic City casinos in 2010, but that was still a drop of around 6%. The good news for Atlantic City, is that it is the less-active customers who are staying away.

Atlantic City is being hit by the rapid growth of casino gambling in neighboring states and the economy.

For the past five years, it has been trying to rebrand itself to be more like a Las Vegas Casino– a resort for high-spending customers who want to stay a few days and go to some shows, do a bit of shopping and eat at high end restaurants, as well as play at the tables or the machines.

Bob Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment, said the trend is clear at his company’s 3 Atlantic City casinos.

“The players that are loyal to Atlantic City are betting more,” he said. “We’re getting more out of less players. The customers we’re losing are the convenience gamblers; they’re just staying home.”

The survey found around 27 million people visited Atlantic City’s 11 casinos in 2010, most of them by car. Bus passengers mad up for less than 3.8 million, a decline of 13 percent.

“Busing is on a long, slow goodbye,” Pollock said. “Buses once accounted for 15 million people a year here.”

Casinos in the Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Connecticut suburbs, are all targeting day-tripping gamblers who were once Atlantic City’s cash cow.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which opened 2003, is a classic example of the city´s new strategy. The Borgata focuses on high-end customers by giving a Las Vegas-style resort experience but in New Jersey, and has led the pack in revenue. The most profitable gamblers played at the 3 casinos in the marina district: Borgata, Harrah’s and Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

The least profitable group of properties was the Route 40 cluster: the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort and the Tropicana Casino and Resort.

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