Casino Executives Bullish on Atlantic City’s Gambling Industry Revitalization

Better use of the Atlantic City International Airport, the addition of more non-gambling entertainment services, and expansion of existing convention space are among the options that are believed to hold potential to help Atlantic City revitalize its casino industry, city casino executives said on Wednesday.

Representatives from the city’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Resorts Casino Hotel, Tropicana Entertainment Inc., and Hard Rock Atlantic City participated in an industry panel organized by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. They thoughts were conveyed to readers by local news outlet Press of Atlantic City.

Commenting on the state of Atlantic City’s economy, Marcus Glover, the recently appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of the Borgata, said that it was robust but that the city was still suffering the consequences of previously created negative perceptions. Mr. Glover has been part of Atlantic City’s casino industry for three months now. He touted the idea of making better use of the city’s international airport.

Matthew Harkness, President of Hard Rock Atlantic City, said that he saw bright future for Atlantic City and its casino industry. Parent company Hard Rock International is currently redeveloping the former Trump Taj Mahal, after buying it from New York billionaire businessman Carl Icahn this spring. The company is planning to spend the amount of $500 million on its project in the city. The redeveloped property is slated to open doors next May.

Resorts Casino Hotel CEO and President Mark Giannantonio, an Atlantic City casino industry veteran, said he was optimistic about the future of the city. According to Mr. Giannantonio, the upcoming opening of Hard Rock Atlantic City will further boost the north end of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk.

Expansion of Non-Gambling Options

The past several years have shown that the addition of services beyond gambling at casinos could be a good way for boosting the properties’ profitability. The four casino executives said during the Wednesday panel that Atlantic City should invest more in such non-gambling services. eSports and daily fantasy sports have been among the options considered by the local gambling venues as potential means for attracting a wider number of diverse visitors.

Tony Rodio, President and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment Inc., said on Wednesday that they have also diversified their entertainment offering beyond gambling through the launch of weekly firework and light shows, among other things.

The four executives also agreed that more convention space could, too, help Atlantic City boost visits. The convention model was adopted by Las Vegas more than three decades ago and has proved to be quite successful.

The Great Recession and the growing competition from neighboring states inflicted serious damage to Atlantic City’s casino industry. Five of the city’s twelve casinos closed doors within a two-and-a-half-year span as a result. It is now believed that the city is entering its years of revitalization and the interest from outstate investors, such as Hard Rock International, has come as proof to this.

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