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Dr. Schwartz Puts MGM Grand Atlantic City Into Perspective

By Chuckmonster on Sunday, 14th October 2007 6:58pm
  » filed under Atlantic City  comments: 0

   

Dr. David G. Schwartz - the G. stands for Gamblin - has a great piece in the Las Vegas Business Press on the historical significance of MGM Grand Atlantic City.

In 2007 so far, casino revenues [in Atlantic City] are almost uniformly down, and slot play has been particularly hard hit. And this before Philadelphia slot parlors have even begun construction. One could argue that, within five years, Atlantic City will be something like Reno, a once-great regional gaming destination on the decline.

He goes on to say that MGMMirage's 'City Center East' could turn things around for AC in the face of competition from tribal casinos and slot parlors in surrounding states.

Not long ago, Atlantic City was at the same crossroads that Vegas was at in the late 1970's / early80's. Amenities stagnated, hipness of the rat pack era faded, and an all around identity crisis gave Las Vegas the dubious disctinction of replacing Poughkeepsie as the punchline in borscht belt one liners. In the public eye, visiting Las Vegas was akin to traveling into a tacky timewarp occupied by episodes of Kojak, Mannix and Ironsides reruns.

The opening of Borgata, like the opening of Mirage in Vegas, was the first tug towards righting Atlantic City's listing ship. Since then, casino operators have been scrambling to add towers, upgrade decor, add restaurants and give their joints an extreme makeover. It's a delicate balancing act to spearhead large capital investment in the face of declining revenue. Some operators, like Trump, have been unable to find the sweet spot that makes their properties competitive and assuages bankruptcy proceedings.

MGM Grand Atlantic City's announcement is the exclamation point at the end of "Atlantic City's Transformation!" A few others may be added when Pinnacle Entertainment unveils their plans and Wynn Resorts finally get into the game. Unlike Reno, where the local government and casino operators seem to be content letting their cattle graze elsewhere, Atlantic City is poised (hopefully) to innovate its way to a new golden age.



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