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Revel casino has a gambling problem

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You know those ads they used to run for problem gamblers? "If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER."

Attention Revel visitors: There's a casino somewhere in here that the state would love for you to find. (NJBIZ file photo)
Attention Revel visitors: There's a casino somewhere in here that the state would love for you to find. (NJBIZ file photo)

Well, give Atlantic City's newest casino the number, because Revel has a gambling problem. Specifically, there's not enough gambling going on over there.

That's the news out of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, which published its monthly casino statistics Monday, and the numbers aren't very encouraging, in the same way that "Houston, we have a problem" isn't encouraging. Casino win dropped 9.5 percent from May 2011, and while you're saying, "Big deal, what's another down month?" the big story here is that in May 2011, there was no Revel, and in May 2012, Revel was not the turnaround force many had expected. In fact, in terms of casino win, it just beat out the Atlantic Club, which prides itself on penny slots, cheap food and free parking — in other words, the holy trinity for the silver-haired set that ultraluxe casino execs are trying to banish from the Boardwalk.

Also, Revel's total casino win, at just under $14 million, seems to have come at the expense of other casinos in town (does that sound familiar?). That comes from looking at the other casinos' performance; the highlights, for those of you too lazy to click the link:

– Trump Plaza, down 27 percent.

– Resorts, down 23.9 percent.

– Bally's Atlantic City, down 22.9 percent.

– Trump Taj Mahal, down 22.4 percent.

The only casino that came close to breaking even at the tables was Tropicana, where win fell 2.1 percent from its May 2011 numbers. That's not counting the Golden Nugget, which was only open about a week last May.

If there's any saving grace here, it's that Revel didn't hold its grand opening until Memorial Day weekend. But it's been open for two months now, which certainly should have been enough to generate more than $14 million in May winnings. And when you get Chris Christie and Michelle Obama in the house the same weekend as Beyoncé — well, folks, those stars aren't going to line up for you very often. Revel as a destination is a fine idea, but it needs to be a casino, too.

Otherwise, it's just a garish paint job and a ski ramp away from becoming the next Xanadu.

I'm even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.

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