It’s the first good news since Atlantic City’s newest casino opened: finally, a marketing campaign appears to be working, and July’s numbers reflect the improvements everywhere within Revel Casino-Hotel.
New Campaign Working
With its seemingly obvious “Gamblers Wanted” campaign – including a massive sign plastered right on the front of the casino – Revel has apparently made it clear that their former no-smoking, chi-chi attitude is out with the Atlantic Ocean tides, and a more approachable “come on in and spend your money” tactic is working for them.
Revel’s revenues for July were $23.4 million, from a combined take from both slots and table games, which represents a dramatic 33 percent jump from last year.
“I think the July results clearly reflect the impact of the ‘Gamblers Wanted’ campaign,” said Jeffrey Hartman, Revel’s interim CEO.
Overall, however, Atlantic City casinos will be wanting more gamblers; the numbers for all of the beleaguered gambling city’s casinos continued to freefall, with a nearly 4 percent drop compared to 2012, according to numbers released by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. The only other casinos that showed gains besides Revel were Borgata, up 19 percent, and Resorts Casino Hotel, with a 6 percent jump compared to last year.
Helping the July numbers, apparently, was the July Fourth holiday tourist influx. Officials say there was a nearly 7 percent rise in Atlantic City Expressway toll plaza traffic that is the major throughway to drive to Atlantic City. Similarly, they say 7 percent more visitors stopped at the information centers that surround the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.
And despite the call for those willing to wager, it appears that at last Atlantic City’s efforts to mimic what has worked for years in Las Vegas – namely, non-gaming draws like headliners, retail and fancy restaurants – may be working; a sold-out performance by pop songstress Beyonce and the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival both served as good draws for more tourist activity.
“There’s no doubt that special events in Atlantic City are a major draw for tourists,” said Jeffrey Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. Vasser added that Convis events this year have pulled 212,950 attendees to AC, while putting 40,772 room nights and $64 million in convention ancillary spending into the coffers of hotels, casinos and retail.
Of course, while one good month is nice, for a property like Revel that has been plagued with poor numbers since it opened just 15 months ago, an ongoing winning streak is going to be necessary to convince investors that the worst is over. To that end, Hartmann says there will be more of these incredibly creative promotions unleashed after Labor Day.
“We’re reasonably confident that we can maintain the market share numbers,” Hartmann said, hedging his bets.
The casino went into major rebranding mode after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing this Spring, from which it emerged with new ownership and a new (interim) CEO in Hartmann. He says the basic strategy is to re-position the casino from “luxury” to more of an “everyman” type of property.
“We are deeply grateful that many Atlantic City gamblers are giving us a second chance,” Hartmann said.