Atlantic City: Worse to come

Resorts ACResorts ACIf you thought this year’s shrinkage of the Atlantic City casino market from 12 casinos to eight was bad, brace yourself. A Deutsche Bank report predicts more contraction to come. Resorts Atlantic City and Trump Taj Mahal have been marked for death by 2017“By 2017, we foresee Atlantic City to have two center boardwalk casinos (Caesars and Bally’s), the Tropicana, and three casino hotels located in the Marina district (Borgata, Harrah’s, and Golden Nugget),” wrote the bank. Deutsche Bank analysts foresee Revel being revived — but as a non-gaming property.

“We turned bearish on Atlantic City in 2006 (and continue to be bearish to this day) as we believed increased regional competition would take its toll on Atlantic City. It has and it will continue to do so,“ spake the report, which forecasts a 36.5% revenue decline between last year and 2017.

Harrahs BaltimoreElsewhere, another nail was pounded into Atlantic City’s coffin as Maryland regulators approved Horseshoe Casino Baltimore following two days of mock play. Interestingly, only 49% of the employees were drawn from Baltimore — but many are refugees from Showboat in Atlantic City, among other Caesars Entertainment casinos. Horseshoe will be the first and only Maryland casino to have outdoor slots — although the fencing isn’t up to Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission standards yet.

Also, Horseshoe is taking a risk (albeit one that is common practice in the company) by using decks of cards that are pre-shuffled by the maker. Perhaps Horseshoe might want to chat up Tilman Fertitta on the woes of assuming that your card vendor is preshuffling the decks.

* Lago, the upstate New York casino proposal of Wilmorite, destined for Seneca County, has been thinking big. The $425 million project’s latest initiative is a pact with the New York Wine & Culinary Center. If Wilmorite is chosen as one of the four casinos, it will enter a 10-year promotional agreement to fluff the wines, beers and foods of the Finger Lakes area of New York.

Lago Resort 2Said Wilmorite Chairman Thomas C. Wilmot Sr., “We’ve said we want to buy local, serve local and promote local and this relationship with the New York Wine & Culinary Center will help us do that in a big way. Whether it’s New York wines and craft beers, local dairy and other agricultural products, the Finger Lakes Region grows it, makes it and has it. And at Lago, we want to help promote it and make it available to our customers who will be coming from across the state and from all over the world.” I dunno about that “all over the world” bit but it’s nice to know that Wilmot is acting locally, thinking globally.

* One in three Americans lives within 25 miles of a casino. That’s unlikely to mollify Gary Loveman, who believes that gambling parlors should have McDonalds-like ubiquity. Brace yourselves for another rant from the chairman.

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