Trump Taj Mahal's July revenue down while industry up in A.C.
Posted in: In The News on Monday, August 15, 2016

A July gaming report revealed the Trump Taj Mahal suffered financially while the revenues across Atlantic City's casino industry went up for the month.

Likely a symptom of the hundreds of striking workers demonstrating outside of the Carl Icahn-owned casino all month, the Taj Mahal brought in $17.5 million last month, down more than 8 percent from the $19.1 million in revenue reported in July 2015, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The poor July comes on top o...

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Borgata casino has best month ever as Trump Taj Mahal closure looms
Posted in: In The News on Sunday, August 14, 2016

Atlantic City's top casino had its best month ever even as the soon-to-close Trump Taj Mahal casino faltered amid a month-long strike that helped prompt its billionaire owner to decide to shut it down.

The Borgata won nearly $85 million from gamblers in July, its best month ever and a 12.1 percent increase over July 2015.

That came as the Trump Taj Mahal casino posted an 8.2 percent revenue decline amid a strike by the city's main casino workers' union. The casino opened by Do...

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Atlantic City casino revenues up for first time in 3 months
Posted in: In The News on Saturday, August 13, 2016

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Celebrate and support A.C. business reopenings
Posted in: In The News on Friday, July 22, 2016

Bart Blatstein has managed to open the Showboat Hotel at the height of the summer season, a great development for a city that needs good news. His Tower Investments Inc.'s quick and rather quiet opening - underpromising and overdelivering - was just right. Glenn Straub wanted to get the former Revel open even earlier, but it's taking longer and may not happen by Labor Day. That's probably due to a combination of the greater challenges at the state's biggest resort building and Straub's more limited experience with urban redevelopment. We hope it's not, as many critics of Atlantic City have suggested, because officials are giving the eccentric Straub a hard time or even bear a personal animosity toward him. More likely it just takes longer to prep a property with 17,000 smoke and fire detectors alone, and with plans to offer a zipline, a Skytrail ropes course and a 13-story bicycle endurance course. The city has collapsed financially and the county is in a localized depression, so the nearly singular priority of public officials and every other stakeholder in the regional economy must be to do everything and anything to promote business and economic activity. Christopher Paladino, president of the Atlantic City Development Corp., spelled it out this month to this newspaper's editorial board. He said the city needs a lot of incremental improvements. The contribution of AC Devco's Gateway Project will depend on many people and businesses moving into the neighborhoods surrounding the college campus and utility offices. Robert Mulcahy III, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's board chairman, and John Palmieri, its director, previously made clear their understanding that this is how the redevelopment of Atlantic City must proceed, with government efforts triggering residential and commercial improvements. We hope city officials understand as well. State-backed projects can pull together massive funding - for example, reserving $28 million for another Camden project last week - and get major players to work together, but they're just spark plugs to fire up the private sector. We hope Straub gets at least part of Revel open soon and builds upon that. We know Blatstein will add to the services and appeal of his latest property as soon as he can. City and state officials should do what they can to encourage such private business development, and everyone in the region should celebrate it. It's the path to a better future for all.

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How casinos can turn millennials into gamblers
Posted in: In The News on Monday, June 13, 2016

Matthew Mason and Melissa Mould are 33 and 31 years old, which makes them an extremely attractive couple to the modern casino industry. Gaming executives are worried about how to draw people like Mason and Mould, who are part of the millennial generation born between 1982 and 2000, to replace the older generations they know they will eventually lose. The stakes are enormous. Millennials number 75.4 million and last year overtook baby boomers as America’s largest generation, census data show. Their buying power, which ranges as high as $2.5 trillion, is also expected to overtake the boomers’ by 2020. So casinos all over, including those in Atlantic City, are trying all sorts of ways to get millennials onto their floors or gambling online. Resorts Casino Hotel combines those live and virtual forms of gambling with one idea, a room just off the casino floor that the casino calls its I-Gaming Lounge. And that’s where Mason and Mould — residents of Atlanta who like to travel and gamble — found themselves one day last weekend, playing blackjack on a touchscreen big enough to show the Super Bowl in some sports bars. A few steps away and a bit earlier, Kevin O’Neil and Sierra Cichonski, both Philadelphians in their 20s, relaxed on a couch as they played blackjack — one of a deck of games gamblers can bet on in the lounge. Earlier, the pair did a just-for-fun test of “Foxin’ Wins,” a new game available only with Resorts. The I-Gaming Lounge has several features to address trends that Chris Davidson, from the travel-marketing firm MMGY Global, highlighted to the crowd at a session on millennial gamblers at the recent East Coast Gaming Congress at Harrah’s Resort. The Resorts lounge has couches, and 86 percent of young gamblers told MMGY’s researchers that “social gaming” areas were important in their decision on where to play. Just 55 percent of older players said they cared about seeing them in a casino. Eighty-seven percent of millennials also said they want skill-based games — such as the video games much of their generation handles almost as natural appendages. But of older players, only 54 percent wanted to play those games, which some developers see as a key to turning younger people into steadier customers. “This is a generation that grew up with video-game systems that exceed what they can find in most casinos,” Davidson said. Ed Andrewes, a consultant who manages Resorts Digital Gaming, estimates the average age of customers in the I-Gaming Lounge is under 30. A quick look out at the casino floor confirms that those millennials at the video screens are far younger than the typical player at the slots or tables. Resorts is trying some new, video-element games in its internet lounge and online, but Andrewes argues that games will always need an element of luck to appeal to a broad market. “If there’s too much skill involved, a few players will win small amounts of money from lots of bad players,” Andrewes says, which has the effect of driving all those losing players to another game — one they think gives them a chance to win. To him, the real business advantage of the internet lounge is showing customers they can gamble legally on their phones or tablets, and do that at home with Resorts. Despite widespread local publicity about online gambling, even many young players still don’t know the games are available, said Ken Adams, another Resorts executive. He said blackjack, a classic casino game, is always popular in the lounge, partly because those customers seem to feel more comfortable trying it there than they do next to older players at the nearby tables. “You get a lot of people in here betting a dollar on blackjack,” Adams added. But it’s not just gambling that can draw these customers to a casino. “Millennials go out to eat twice as much as older customers,” Dana Takrudtong, of GAN, an online gaming operation, told the millennial session at Harrah’s. But young people may also eat differently, she said, joking that she was still searching Atlantic City’s restaurants to find almond milk, a mainstream-supermarket staple these days. These customers also like to travel in crowds, with arrangement assistance from social media. “In my generation, it was hard for three or four of us to meet up,” said Andrewes. “Now, they have 20 of them meet up.” He believes the basic, classic casino games are solid enough that younger players will eventually see the appeal. But Andrewes agrees casinos have to offer the right atmosphere, amenities and attractions, such as entertainment and clubs, to get millennials in their doors in the first place. Victor Rocha, an Indian gaming veteran and editor of the website, got laughs at the recent millennial gambling session with his thumbnail summary of how the industry and these hotly desired new customers will eventually hook up. “I believe millennials, like the rest of us, will get on with our lives,” he said, grinning. “And when the kids grow up and you get older and you hate each other, you’ll go to the casino.”

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Borgata adds Beer Garden, outdoor pool and Marketplace Eatery this summer
Posted in: In The News on Monday, June 06, 2016

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s summer is about to get a lot cooler … literally. The Atlantic City market leader will once again reinvest in its megaresort by offering three new additions this summer: the Borgata Beer Garden, Outdoor Pool and The Marketplace Eatery. In partnership with restaurateur and real estate developer George Siganos, they will revolutionize the food court concept with The Marketplace Eatery, a multi-outlet, quick-serve complex in the former Cafeteria space below Borgata’s Poker Room and The Racebook that is expected to open July 1. Your guide to this summer's big concerts Fresh, made-to-order eateries will replace the previous brands at The Cafeteria including Tony Luke’s, Fatburger and others. “We fit a niche that is missing there and in all of Atlantic City,” Siganos says. “I travel all around the world, and it’s a trend to offer tastings and very interactive cuisine. It’s a unique concept because it will be beautiful, there will be plates and silverware, and we will serve them their food after they order. It’s a unique and upscale quick-service experience. We are revolutionizing and elevating the entire concept.” Led by husband/wife chefs Joe and Jennifer Muldoon, The Marketplace will be anchored by a market specializing in fine cheeses, charcuterie, olive oil, wine, Lavazza Coffee bar and more. Resembling an Italian market, guests will be able to sit down and order wine and cheese plates, customize gift baskets and even take home any of the fine, imported offerings available. More than 150 cheeses will be featured, and The Marketplace will even offer tasting classes and elegant wine dinners. Guests will also be able to place orders from the market and pick up their goods at checkout. “It will be an amazing market with the best and freshest cheeses and meats and imported selections,” Joe Muldoon says. “We will literally offering nothing but the best. We will be making our own mozzarella and will even have classes to show people how to make it themselves. And I’m most excited about the wine dinners, where we’ll be able to literally offer a tour of our whole store from course to course.” Other than the main market, there will be seven other quick-serve offerings. The only remaining outlet from The Cafeteria is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, which will be joined by Chop & Toss Salad Company featuring signature salads, wraps and soups; Burgerville: Burgers, Shakes & Fries, offering fresh-pressed, 100-percent grass-fed, certified angus, hormone-free beef from Pat LaFrieda as well as onion rings, fries and milkshakes; Casa Taco Express, the first Casa Taco location outside of the original Tropicana location featuring Mexican cuisine such as tacos and quesadillas as well as made-to-order breakfast including Huevos Rancheros; Asian Fusion: Udon/Sushi & Traditional, with sushi, Chinese and noodles; Pizata: Pizza & Pasta, a made-to-order pizza and pasta stop that will offer guests the chance to pick toppings and make pizza to order and will also feature Talluto’s pasta; and The Original Philly Steaks and Subs, hoagies served on fresh-baked Formica Bros. Atlantic City bread and cheesesteaks offered with Whiz wit or witout. 50+ of the best fests in South Jersey this summer “There is literally something for everyone,” Jennifer Muldoon says. “We are excited to bring the iconic Casa Taco brand to Borgata. We will feature the best of the best ingredients like Pat LaFrieda meat. And there are some great twists that will keep people guessing.” “The evolution of The Cafeteria into the upscale Marketplace Eatery supports Borgata’s commitment to provide the most diverse and innovative culinary experiences in the region,” adds Senior Vice President of Operations Joe Lupo. “We couldn’t be happier with our partnership with Siganos. We are always about offering upscale amenities for our guests and evolving our product, and this will do that.” Capitalizing on the popularity of craft beer, Borgata Beer Garden will open July 1. Open daily, the canopied bar will offer more than 15 craft and domestic beers plus live music every Friday through Sunday. Located in the former Festival Park space adjacent to surface lot parking, there will be a variety of lawn games as well as unique events such as “Beer N Bites Happy Hour,” “Pig Roast Thursdays” and “Sunday Scotch and Cigars.” Right next to the beer garden is the Outdoor Pool, a 3,200-square-foot, Roman-style pool expected to open in early July that will be accessible only to Borgata and Water Club hotel guests. Featuring more than 300 chase lounges, daybeds and cabanas, more than 1,000 guests will be able to enjoy the facility at a time. Both the Outdoor Pool and Beer Garden will feature food from Executive Chef Tom Biglan such as watermelon salad with feta and micro greens, smashed brisket and short rib burger and chipotle chicken Caesar wrap. A special cocktail menu will also be offered. “With the launch of Borgata Beer Garden and Outdoor Pool, we are thrilled to present our hotel guests with an excellent outdoor amenity, offered seven days a week, that effectively reinforces the resort as the summer destination in Atlantic City,” Lupo says. “We already had the infrastructure in place from last year’s Festival Park, and it’s really great to be able to offer a seven-day amenity outdoors for all Atlantic City guests .. and that’s where the Beer Garden decision came from. We wanted to make sure we had something new for people to experience.”

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