Hump Day Report: AC Needs Big Summer Season
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
With Atlantic City casino revenues down another five percent in March, despite warm weather and a couple of days of revenue from the new Revel Casino, the importance of the summer season is even more dramatic. The April revenue figures out later this week should give us a better feel for the impact of Revel on the overall revenue stream for Atlantic City’s casinos.
But before we know how much the April opening of Revel helped the bottom line, let’s remember that just because Revel boosts the overall figures doesn’t mean Atlantic City is cured.
I remember when the first casinos opened in Atlantic City in the late 1970s and early 1980s, merchants on Atlantic Ave. expected a trickle down effect from the casino business. They figured more people in town meant more business for them. It didn’t quite work that way. The casinos were self-contained entities that tried their best to keep their customers in their building, not walking the streets looking for dining and shopping options. (Not to mention that tourists still didn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere but on the Boardwalk after dark.)
Revel’s executives, if they have any business sense, will want the same. That’s the whole point of a destination resort — those who come to Revel stay at Revel, to paraphrase that famous catch-line from out Nevada way.
I’m not taking the glass half-empty view that Revel won’t help. It will because people will want to come to Atlantic City to check out the new playground, but they might not be in the income bracket it takes to stay at the more expensive Revel rooms. Who says you can’t stay at Atlantic Club, with its friendlier prices, including free parking, and take a stroll down the Boardwalk to Revel to check it out.
If you have something worth leaving the Boardwalk for, people will do it. Tanger Outlets: The Walk has proven that with its attractive outlet stores that have been very successful despite not being connected to a casino.
Summer weather brings people to the Jersey shore, no matter how much competition there is from casinos in surrounding states. It is Atlantic City’s time to shine and get back on track.
Am I overly optimistic? Perhaps. After all, I still think the Phillies are making the post-season this year. But with an impressive entertainment line-up from the combined efforts of all the casinos, great weather, beach bars, the new HQ Nightclub and HQ Beach Club at Revel, and, did I mention the beach and Boardwalk? Atlantic City should thrive once school’s out.