An Atlantic City Double-Whammy
This was supposed to be the week when the worm turned for Atlantic City and their recent misfortunes. Revel may have debuted to fanfare on Monday, but the resort was dealt two losing hands since then.I wrote last week that Governor Christie was staking a big part of his political future in the success of Atlantic City.
Between the new Revel and the recent initiatives of the CRDA, Atlantic City has been making positive headlines, with many believing that a turn-around was right on the horizon.
While that may be the case in the future, there is still much work to be done. And more importantly, the recent buzz has merely covered the warts that were already on the surface over the last several years.
The first blow dealt to Atlantic City was the news on Tuesday that Pennsylvania had officially supplanted the resort as the #2 gaming destination in the country. The momentum has been building for Pennsylvania, consistently cutting into AC's bottom line. This was a fate that was inevitable.
That was compounded by Wednesday's report that casino profits fell in Atlantic City over 7% in 2011.
Both pieces of news were not exactly out of left-field. They merely reiterated the trends that have been developing since the market bottomed in 2008. While they are a body blow, they will not deter the efforts of the Christie Administration and the city to continue making what is real reform.
Revel's opening will help the resort regain credibility, as it moves to gain back its #2 status, while trying to become more of a Las Vegas style city. The gaming also stands to get a major boost, if plans to introduce online gambling and sports betting continue along the path.
One major dilemma is that Atlantic City is still caught somewhere between a gaming destination that wants to focus more on non-gaming amenities, and building up a family-friendly environment. They took major heat for a new ad campaign set to debut this month...DO AC.
I think the first part of the equation is to establish an identity and let the rest of the city adapt to the new landscape with mega-resort Revel.
Once Atlantic City realizes how the hierarchy will work within their own city, then they can start walking the long road to regain their spot as the top gaming destination in this part of the country.
It can be done, but this week just reminded everybody how much damage has been done, and how much of their market has been lost over the last few years.