Will Revel yell drown out the Boardwalk?
Chris Christie spending the Memorial Day weekend at Revel apparently did nothing to deter gamblers from playing in Pennsylvania.
While the governor said the luxe lifestyle of the new megaresort was how he liked to “Do AC,” the slot machines across the Delaware were humming with activity, according to the latest numbers from the state’s gaming authority. Total slot revenue was up more than 3.25 percent in May, though that includes about $4 million from Valley Forge Casino Resort, which was not open at this time last year. In Bethlehem, Pa., the Sands saw revenue leap almost 11.25 percent over the year-ago figure, which is so impressive it will probably turn out to be a typo.
Meanwhile, New Jersey continues to fade like dark colors washed in warm water and dried in bright sunlight. The last month for which figures are available is April, when slots winnings were down more than 9 percent.
In fact, none of the good news out of A.C. is coming from the casino floors, and all of it is coming out of Revel. Those wild Beyoncé concerts and other sold-out shows, not is gaming options, are making Revel into an overnight destination success. And its many amenities got such glowing reviews that the casino uses them as night-lights in its hotel rooms.
But at what point does this stop being a success story for Atlantic City?
I predicted early on that the Borgata wouldn’t survive Revel, but it’s pouring plenty of money into its own property to try to compete for the well-to-do tourist with lots of disposable income and little care for gaming. Can it survive? What about the more value-focused casinos that are more about blackjack and dollar slots?
The issue I find most entertaining, though, is that now people aren’t asking how Atlantic City will survive encroachment by Pennsylvania and other out-of-state casinos. They’re asking how it will survive Revel, the anointed savior of the Boardwalk. They may need to consult a priest on this one.
I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.