It was just announced today, August 12 2014 that the Revel Atlantic City's newest and biggest gamble will close it's doors on or before September 10, 2014. Why? The answer to this question lies before it was built. It is located at the far end of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, next to the Trmp Taj Mahal. Construction cost over runs and union problems plagued the site before it was even open for business. For one, there are no lights around the place when you compare it to the area closer to Bally's. It's not as inviting in the night.
Next , one must walk up a series of steps and around a circular driveway, to enter the building. Then you must go up an escalator to get to the gaming floor. Once inside, the casino floor is expansive and nice but the trek to get there shows senior citizens and those that cannot walk a great distance that it's way to big of a hassle as opposed to some place smaller.
In 1979, during the first few months of opening, Resorts, there was no other casino in the continental United States except in Nevada. That meant for 20 million potential gamblers within a 10 hour drive, Atlantic City was the place to go. As other casinos opened, they had a license to print money. With conservative thinking among Pennsylvania's lawmakers, gambling was off the table, no pun intended. Casino's in AC did not close. Sure, the Playboy had licensing problems in the early 80,s but that was a one off thing.
In 2006 when Philadelphia Park Casino opened, people lined up for hours in a cold day in December for the ability to legally gamble in Pennsylvania. Potential investors should have seen that as a harbinger of things to come. "Why should I drive about an hour away, pay $20.00 to park my vehicle to gamble, when I can drive 15 minutes to Bensalem and park for free in the lot at a local casino. When I'm done gambling, I can be home in 15 minutes." That was the thought of the gambling public. The rise in gas and diesel fuel did not help Atlantic City, either.
The Sands was closed in Atlantic City, it was a place that never really took off and the Claridge no longer has gambling on it's property. The slogan was "Smaller is friendlier". There was a moving treadmill to bring visitors to both the Sands and Claridge. That had since been torn down a long time ago.
Donald Trump no longer has a controlling interest in his properties. He is down to a 10 percent stake. He just filed a lawsuit to have his name taken off the Trump Plaza, which is having it's own share of money problems. Build at the center of town, the hotel is not doing the business it did 10 years ago.
The big whales that fly in to Atlantic City and plop down hundreds of thousands of dollars are not the back bone of casinos. Gamblers that put down about $1000.00 in a single trip are. These are the folks that save up a weeks pay, or maybe a bit more and take a trip down. They want a buffet where they put what they want on their food and maybe they can play a few hundred bucks. If they win, they might put some of it back. Gamblers want attention. They want to feel important.
The Revel was mismanaged from jump street by making comps harder to get than a date with Beyonce. She's married and it ain't happening. Speaking of Beyonce, the Revel tossed huge money at her to get her to play the casino when it first opened . They do need a draw as the Frank Sinatra crowd is over. However, you cannot stay in business paying your entertainer $2 million and only recoup a little more than half that. The Revel was not giving out comps. When gamblers lost thousands, they want something to make them feel better, not inducements to lose more cash, but a free meal or room. When the casino does not snap to it to get something for this person, they go to who will. With the Revel, it was not happening.
The Revel opened without a buffet. As mind boggling as that is, the buffet is the single most important restaurant a casino can have.
Last year, the Hilton closed. By the end of this month Showboat will close it's doors as well. If you have any vouchers or chips from them ,you may want to go to their website before it's too late.
Too much competition. If you have a drug store on three corners of an intersection, would you gamble money to build a fourth on the last corner? It's the same thing in AC. Too many casinos in to small of a space. The Borgata is doing well and has been since their July 3 2003 opening.
Casinos like Parx ( formerly Philadelphia Park Casino) and Monhegan Sun ,and Foxwoods are sticking it to Atlantic City. They are siphoning their customers and they show no sign of letting up.