Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles looking at the changing face of Atlantic City's gaming industry.A decade ago, Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City was home to housing projects, auto body shops and small factories, an industrial eyesore that was incoming visitors' first impression of the gaming mecca. Today, visitors see a Michigan Avenue that is full of construction and home to the Walk, a 320,000-square-foot outlet shopping mall connecting the new Atlantic City Convention Center up the street with the boardwalk near the Atlantic Ocean. "It's right off the mouth of the expressway, one block over," says Ernie D'Ambrosio, director of strategic planning for the Innovation Group, a casino consultant. "There are probably dozens of stores open now, and they're working their way down the corridor
No Vacancies, No RevenueAtlantic City has 100,000 fewer rooms than Las Vegas, and that has made it difficult for hotel casinos to attract lucrative group tours and convention-goers. With many of the hotel rooms given away gratis to loyal old customers, there's no place for new business to sleep. But this situation is changing rapidly as casino operators like Harrah's add hotel rooms, then make plans to add more gambling space. For example, just six months after opening, the Borgata announced plans for a 500,000-square-foot expansion of its casino.
|A Nice Place to Gamble... |
Atlantic City has held its own against Las Vegas in terms of gaming revenue. Now Atlantic City is looking to boost non-gaming revenue.
|Year||Atlantic City||Las Vegas Strip|
|Total Gaming Revenue*||YOY % Change||Total Gaming Revenue*||YOY % Change|
|1997||$3.9 billion||2.4%||$3.8 billion||6.4%|
|* -- Numbers rounded. Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board, New Jersey Casino Control Commission|