Revel Doesn't Make Big Dent in Gaming Revenues

Atlantic City's newest casino doesn't give major gaming boost

Revel's revenue remained stuck in the bottom of the pack of Atlantic City's 12 casinos in its second month of operation, with the $13.9 million it won from gamblers ranking it eighth once again.

Its winnings represented only a slight improvement over the $13.4 million it won from gamblers in April.

Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis said May was the second month of a two-month preview period aimed more at testing out equipment and procedures than making money.

"It's going to take a little time," he told The Associated Press. "Every day, the operation is improving and every day we're getting more and more people to come in. Our thinking was, `How do we showcase this place and get it ready for a great summer season?'"

Revel had its four-day grand opening over Memorial Day weekend, highlighted each night by a concert by Beyonce. Those nights helped increase revenue, and saw 146,000 people visit, including Michelle Obama and her two daughters.

But even more importantly, the holiday weekend days helped introduce the property to customers that Revel wants to keep coming back, he said.

Revel was not able to begin fully marketing to its customers until May 17 or 18, due to a technology problem that has since been resolved, he said.

"The real work now begins," DeSanctis said. "Our business model is dependent on more than gaming revenue. However, gaming revenue is clearly an important component of our total revenues, and that is an area which we are intent on improving. We do not believe our current gaming revenue production is indicative of the potential capability of the property.

"We recognize that we have a tremendous amount of work in front of us, and certainly have a lot of room for improvement, but we believe we have the potential to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to our guests that will translate into very strong economic returns for our stakeholders," he said.

For the entire resort, casino revenue fell 9.5 percent in May to $263 million. Slot machine revenue fell 9.3 percent, to $186.9 million, while table game revenue decreased by 10.2 percent, to $76.1 million.

May was a bad month for most of Atlantic City's casinos. Aside from Revel, only one other gambling hall, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, showed an increase last month, and that was less than 1 percent, to $10.8 million.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which was widely assumed to be vulnerable to Revel's opening and targeting of the higher-end gambling and resort customer, retained its traditional top spot in the revenue rankings. But the $50 million it won from gamblers represented a 10.6 percent decline from a year ago. Harrah's Resort Atlantic City took in $34 million, a decline of 6.6 percent, and Caesars Atlantic City won $30.4 million, down 12.8 percent.

Bally's Atlantic City won $26 million, down nearly 23 percent; the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort won $25 million, down 22.4 percent; the Tropicana Casino and Resort won $22.9 million, down 2.1 percent, and the Showboat casino Hotel won $18.9 million, down 17 percent.

The Atlantic Club won $10.7 million, a decrease of nearly 21 percent; Resorts Casino Hotel won $10.5 million, down nearly 24 percent, and Trump Plaza finished last in revenues in May. Its $9.4 million represented a 27 percent decline from a year ago.

For the first five months of the year, Atlantic City's casinos won $1.3 billion, which is down 7.6 percent from the same period in 2011.

DeSanctis said Revel currently has 1,200 hotel rooms open and ready to rent, and will increase that number to 1,400 within two weeks. When fully ready later this year, Revel will have just under 1,900 hotel rooms.

He said he did not expect a drastic improvement in revenues in June, which he termed "OK" so far, but said July is when Revel expects to significantly increase its revenues. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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