Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath! Recognizing the devastating news about Gaming prospects in Atlantic City, we are seeing quite the “correction” of the industry there. Once, second only to Las Vegas as the top gaming destination in the US, they have been surpassed by neighbor Pennsylvania and battered by other regional operations. Atlantic City will rebound, because of the old real estate mandate – location, location, location. That, and the Atlantic Ocean.
But, try to tell this to the 5,000 or so gaming employees there who have lost their positions. Or, the fact that with the casinos closing the city has lost about 4,400 hotel rooms, or about 25% of the room capacity to lure conventions to the destination. What evolves will be a very different looking destination! This will be more than your typical “contraction”, more of a transformation – new attractions, new messages, a different visitor experience.
Atlantic City will need to contend with a shifting Northeastern gaming landscape. Here are the stats of the contenders: 2 casinos in Maine and Rhode Island; 2 casinos in Connecticut; zero in New Hampshire and Vermont; 3 casinos proposed and a Slot Parlor in Massachusetts; 12 existing casinos in Pennsylvania; 18 current gaming enterprises and 4 proposed in New York. And, New Jersey in its brilliance is looking at the prospect of a casino in the Meadowlands (the Newark area).
With the improving economy, state citizens are no longer looking at gaming strictly as the panacea to cure state revenue ills. Massachusetts will have a referendum later this year to perhaps overturn the gaming initiative, which looked so promising a few years back. As noted in the Boston Globe, September 1, 2014, by David Guarino, spokesman for the casino repeal campaign, “Atlantic City is just the latest example in an ongoing trend brought to oversaturation and broken promises”.
So, will all this unease curtail gaming energies in the Northeast? No – too much money to be made, no matter the stats, the declining revenues, the closures, the nay-sayers. I’d bet on the house!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog, focusing on anything and everything about customer experience. LRA Worldwide is the leading global provider of Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. For over 30 years, LRA’s innovative brand standards audits, quality assurance inspections, mystery shopping programs, research, and consulting services have helped ensure our clients deliver consistent, memorable, and differentiated experiences to their customers. Many of the world's preeminent global hospitality brands, as well as companies in the gaming, dining, healthcare, sports and entertainment, real estate, retail and travel industries choose LRA to help them measure and improve the customer experience. For more information, visit www.LRAWorldwide.com.
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