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Burn the Boats

Encouraging 'results' in Atlantic City

By August 13. 2012 9:26AM

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I really don’t want to keep doing posts on Atlantic City, tourism and gaming, because otherwise, I would have named this blog Burn the Borgata and been done with it.

Nonetheless, it’s been yet another poor month in town, but everyone seems positively invigorated about how gaming revenue isn’t down as much as they expected, even though it’s off better than 9 percent, and there’s plenty of optimism about the bright future ahead. I really feel like the No. 1 reason to “Do AC” is to have a sip of whatever it is they’re putting in the water over there. The Press even got one casino executive to say he was “believe it or not, a little encouraged by the results.”

In this Press of Atlantic City report, the weak numbers are attributed to, among other things, a poor calendar and poor weather. Apparently, having the Fourth of July fall on a Wednesday is the kiss of death for a tourism venue, since it broke up the three-day weekend of last year. I can tell you, though, that between an easier commute that week and the fact that our reporters could barely get their own mothers on the phone, I’m led to believe a lot of people took time off that week. The weather, according to National Weather Service facts supplied by the tourism authority, was drier than usual, though there was an extra day of severe rainfall.

Leaving all that aside, though, no one is mentioning how there’s an extra casino open now that wasn’t there at this time last year. Revel actually continued to post more revenue, pulling in $17.5 million, but still only good for eighth place in the city. If running in place was a track and field event, Revel could have brought home gold in London.

Now, as I’ve said before, Revel’s success shouldn’t be measured solely in terms of casino win. It’s meant to be a broader destination that, unlike other broader destinations in the state, is allowed to have casino gaming. Unfortunately, data from the city’s tourism arm aren’t all that uplifting, either. The July numbers aren’t available yet on the Do AC website — so far, I’ve only seen a handful of cheery numbers sent in a press release, such as Facebook "likes," which are as far away from generating revenue as you can get — but the June figures are pretty discouraging, despite what I’d say is an inspired effort by the Do AC people, whose budget has limited them to colors like electric orange and nuclear fuschia paired with pictures of sexy twentysomethings.

So basically, we’re looking at a market that’s not getting much bigger, despite Revel’s opening, and that continues to lose money. How much longer will we be encouraged by the “results”?

I’m even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.

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