OK, let’s take a deep breath and remind ourselves that one swallow doesn’t make a spring and one month doesn’t determine history’s verdict on a casino, but there’s only a single word for $2.4 billion Revel’s first full month of operation: poor. The megaresort grossed $17.5 million, making it the eighth-place finisher for June. So much for the “novelty factor.” Perhaps that’s what occurs when you make “the casino seem almost an afterthought.” If there’s an upside to this, it’s that Atlantic City’s gross gaming revenue “only” fell 9% in a summer month … down 15% when Revel is factored out of the equation. In other words, par for the 2012 course.
Table win at Revel was $1,771/day and slot handle was $150 per day … but without comparable data from other casinos, those numbers are almost meaningless. As expected, beach-deprived Revel took a chunk out of table play at Borgata (-18.5% drop), where gamblers played lucky and casino win was -38%. Still, Boyd Gaming can take consolation that, even with an overall 16% plunge in casino revenue, Borgata still kicked the crap out of Revel, grossing thrice as much.
Slot players seem to avoiding Caesars Entertainment properties like the plague: Coin-in was down 20%, although tighter holds limited the damage. Caesars was lucky at the tables, with only 9% less win on 17% less drop. Still, its quartet grossed a middle-of-the-pack $127 million, leaving one to ponder yet again why Gary Loveman was so enamored of Atlantic City he needed four casinos there. The Revel factor was felt least at Caesars Atlantic City (-2%) and worst at Bally’s Wild Wild West (-30%).
Any shellfire from Revel merely clanged off the armor of Tropicana Atlantic City, which was flat from June 2011 and is muscling up into Caesars territory, grossing $28 million. Having long since dwarfed Showboat, it’s poised to surpass Bally’s next. Losing the most market share was — big surprise – Trump Entertainment Resorts (-21%), whose Trump Plaza ($11 million) has now fallen far behind Colony C(r)apital’s former Atlantic City Hilton ($15 million). The latter’s grind joint repositioning is paying dividends, as “ACH” outgrossed rudderless Resorts Atlantic City and even the Golden Nugget ($13 million both). That’s a rare bit of good news in a market whose monthly declines are worsening from 2011’s.
In addition to snatching away the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s marketing boss to oversee its own efforts, Mohegan Sun Casino made a sizable thrust into the Boardwalk. With no successor to Resorts visionary Dennis Gomes having emerged, Mohegan Tribal Gaming will assume daily oversight of the property, bringing a big gun to the table. Can tribal penetration of the Las Vegas market be far behind? (You can also add Resorts to the growing number of non-Caesars properties that are sublicensing the Margaritaville brand, at least 3:1 at last count.) Although the Mohegans have become greatly overextended in recent years — not so badly as Foxwoods, but badly — this is definitely a coup for Resorts, extending its reach into the Pennsylvania and Connecticut markets, where Mohegan Sun’s player database will be merged with Resorts’. Replacing the late Gomes is 12-year Tropicana veteran (both A.C. and LV) Gary Van Hettinga (right), who exited the company at the onset of the disastrous Columbia Sussex interregnum at the Trop. If nothing else, the man has impeccable timing.
It also consummates the tribe’s five-year flirtation with Atlantic City and enables it to stick it to Revel for cutting in on player volume back at Mohegan Sun HQ in Ledyard. Also, the Mohegan Sun name, if adopted, would give the property much greater brand equity than under the moldy, tattered, all-but-meaningless “Resorts” moniker. Most significantly of all, Mohegan Sun will buy a minority stake in Resorts, challenging the private-sector casino industry on some of its oldest turf. It’s a smarter move by Resorts than anything done by Nick Ribis and Boob-in-Chief Tom Barrack when they were running it into the ground.
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