Tough sell: Official markets Atlantic City

Imagine the problems in trying to market Atlantic City to the world.

One casino closed in January. Three of the remaining 11 resorts could be shuttered by September.

Atlantic City gaming revenue fell to $2.8 billion in 2013, the Boardwalk’s lowest total since 1989.

Almost daily, headlines concerning the market’s demise appear in the nation’s top media outlets, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

The investment community has soured on Atlantic City.

Moody’s Investor Service this week cited “weakened tax base, revenue-raising ability and broader economic outlook” in its most recent Atlantic City downgrade.

Welcome to Jeff Guaracino’s world.

As chief strategy and communications officer for the Atlantic City Alliance — the agency charged with marketing the seaside resort community since 2011 — Guaracino remains upbeat on the positive trends that have emerged despite the recent bad news.

He points to facts that often have been missed.

Weekends have been busy on the Boardwalk in the summer months. Hotel room rates are on an upswing, and occupancy has been strong.

“There is a misconception that declining gaming revenue means no one is there, and that’s damaging,” Guaracino said. “We’re trying to fix that. We can show that the hotel rooms are filled, the Boardwalk is filled and the third-party businesses are seeing double-digit increases in revenue. Gaming revenue is a challenge, and no one is arguing that.”

Atlantic City is slowly diversifying. Last year, the beachfront Margaritaville restaurant and gaming area opened at Resorts Atlantic City. The Claridge, which was closed under Caesars Entertainment’s ownership, reopened as a nongaming boutique hotel and is charging up to $300 a night for a room.

The Walk, an outlet mall adjacent to the Boardwalk casinos, continues to attract customers.

Ground was broken recently on a Bass Pro Shops outdoor sporting goods location that will open next year.

Harrah’s Atlantic City is building a $126 million convention center.

Atlantic City marketers are promoting two free concerts next week on specially built stages outside Caesars Atlantic City featuring country music stars Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum.

In a statement last month, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said nongaming revenue is increasing and jobs are being created through construction projects.

Guaracino said the Alliance — a nonprofit created as part of New Jersey’s 2011 legislation to reposition Atlantic City — is also planning to beef up its midweek convention business through a marketing effort.

He is also quick to point out that the Atlantic City Alliance, which is funded through a $30 million annual assessment to the casinos and operates under a marketing agreement with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, is only in the middle of its five-year master plan.

“Everyone, from the mayor, to the state, to the governor, to the port authority, wants a perfect destination,” Guaracino said. “For 30 years, Atlantic City has been a successful marketplace. We are all trying to continue that goal.”

Guaracino was in Las Vegas to attend the Destination Marketing Association International convention at Aria.

Last week, three Atlantic City-area state lawmakers said they want New Jersey casino regulators to force Showboat owner Caesars Entertainment Corp. and the owners of the Trump Plaza to keep their respective resorts open for another four months so new buyers could be sought.

The Showboat is slated to close Aug. 31, while Trump Plaza has said it would shut down Sept, 19. Meanwhile, operators of the bankrupt Revel said the casino will close unless a buyer is found through an Aug. 6 auction.

With the Atlantic Club closing in January, Atlantic City could lose one-fourth of its resorts in a year.

Guaracino said the only positive from any casino closing is that gaming business would transfer to another casino property. He said the city is trying to determine the best number of casinos for the market to operate profitably.

Since 2006, Atlantic City’s annual gaming revenue has tumbled about 55 percent, a reflection of the sour U.S. economy, casino competition from neighboring states and lack of attention by state and city leaders.

One effort is to make the Boardwalk less reliant on gaming revenue. Guaracino pointed out that 77 percent of all revenue in Atlantic City came from gaming. The figure was down to 71 percent in 2013.

“We’re advertising and still showing effectiveness,” Guaracino said. “We’re moving the needle in the right direction.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Mecum Car Auction in Las Vegas
The Mecum Auctions is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Construction underway for new Google Data Center
Henderson is slated to be home to a new Google data center in December 2020. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved $25.2 million in tax abatements for Design LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company plans to build the data center on 64 acres of land on Warm Springs Road west of Boulder Highway.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, an in-home digital companion and monitor.
Anthony Rufo talks about his new product, HAPPIE Home technology, an in-home digital companion and monitor designed for unpaid family caregivers that gives personalized alerts, messages and reminders. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday parades help bring shoppers to Downtown Summerlin
Sports Town USA floor manager Angela Gardonio talks about the work that goes into the Downtown Summerlin holiday parades and how they benefit her and other businesses there.
Final vote on CG Technology
Final commission vote on the $2 million settlement for CG Technology.
Happie Home Startup Establishing Headquarters In Las Vegas
Digital companion startup company Happie Home is establishing its headquarters in Las Vegas after receiving tax abatements from the Governor's Office of Economic Development on Nov. 15. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like