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Atlantic City is Opening Up For More Than Casino Businesses

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Atlantic City is one the casino meccas for players in the US, but things are slowly changing and the city is looking more into becoming a multi-faceted tourist destination.

The summer in Atlantic City is busy as usual, but there is a different vibe in the air as the city is fiercely trying to attract more and more non-casino players to visit and spend their money there.

Three states have already introduced internet gambling in the US, therefore the opportunity for players to enjoy their favorite games from home definitely affects negatively already established casino destinations in the country.

Fierce competition

Atlantic City is trying to diversify its sources of income

•Land-based casino businesses in the US are struggling due to larger competition

•The mayor of the city is pushing for a multi-faceted development of the city

•The current statistics shows that other sectors, apart from casinos, are doing very well in Atlantic City

The fact that the number of various table games has risen so much, forced the rating agency Moody’s to lower its rating for the US casino industry from “stable” to “negative.” The total gaming revenue was in general lower for almost all operators for the months of April and May, showing that the situation is getting more and more serious.

On a regional basis, casinos in New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut are competing severely with such in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Don Guardian, Atlantic City mayor, commented in the serious situation: “Consider that Atlantic City was host to nearly 39,000 slot positions in 2006. Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland have since nearly doubled the number of regional slot positions, adding 36,000 – with more to come.”

Moreover: “Fortunately, this trend of increased supply and competition isn’t a surprise to Atlantic City. We’re making significant progress in our transition to a destination that relies less on casino gambling and more on a comprehensive mix of attractions to draw tourists to the Jersey Shore.”

More non-gaming revenues

The words of the mayor are definitely not news, as he has already declared the importance of diversification of attractions, offered by the city in addition to the traditional casino opportunities.

When it comes to tourism, it is already at place N3 as one of the most important industries in New Jersey. Naturally, Atlantic City brings the highest number of tourists in its county, and as much as the casino business, which follows all US gambling laws, used to be the biggest reason for people to come to the city, currently there is visible growth in other industries like entertainment, dining, etc.

John Palmieri, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) Executive Director, commented: “In Atlantic County, non-gaming revenues have increased by $240 million, from $4.72 billion in 2010 to $4.96 billion in 2013. Within Atlantic City, non-gaming revenues have increased by more than $160 million in just the last two years and are now approaching $1 billion annually.”

He added: “The CRDA has attracted more than $700 million in capital investment, with more than $290 million in process, to continue to grow the market’s non-gaming amenities.”

More luxurious spendings

The entertaining spending has visibly increase if we’re looking at the luxury tax receipts on various products and activities like alcohol and amusement attractions’ tickets.

The average of these receipts for the first quarters of 2011-2013 grew to $6.8 million with levels at $5.6 million for the period 2007-2010.

The retail sector is also growing in the last years as the salaries in 2013 increased from $381.9 million in 2010 to $412.9 million and this increase is also present in the full-service restaurant wages.

Liza Cartmell, CEO of Atlantic City Alliance, commented that the larger number of visitors in the city, who are looking for leisure destinations, is largely due to the variety of new and innovative events and attractions offered.

She added: “We’re proud to host A-list performers such as Lady Gaga, who did a sold-out show at Boardwalk Hall earlier this summer, and feature top-flight entertainers in free concerts on our magnificent beach.”

Moreover: “We just concluded the Sand Sculpting World Cup and look forward to welcoming AVP pro beach volleyball back to Atlantic City in the months to come.”

Conventions hosting rise

Last but not least is the growth in the convention and business meetings’ hosting in the city. This is due to various factors and an example in the desire to develop this business is presented by Caesars Entertainment, which is the largest casino operator in Atlantic City, currently investing $126 million in a new exquisite convention center at its Harrah’s location.

There is an increase of 22% in the group bookings since 2009 in Atlantic City and its authorities and hotel owners are trying to develop the destination even more and attract higher number of conventions.

This year, CRDA chose Global Spectrum to manage the Atlantic City Convention Center and Historic Boardwalk Hall. Additionally, it initiated the creation of new convention sales organization – “Meet AC,” which will be specifically concentrated on developing the convention business in the city.

Mayor Guardian said: “Atlantic City’s revitalization won’t happen overnight, but as we continue to diversify our offerings, attract new investment, maximize our material assets and identify new and innovative ways to promote our differentiating characteristics, Atlantic City will grow stronger and stand taller for having experienced its recent challenges.”

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