New Jersey may only nip at the heels of Nevada when it comes to gaming industry figures for revenues, consumer spending or jobs, but then it only has 12 operating casinos compared to the 258 locations in Nevada that each have gross gaming revenue of over $1 million. Nevada also had a head start as gambling was legalized in the state in 1931, whereas New Jersey had to wait until 1976.
That the Atlantic City market continues to grow is evidenced by figures released by Boyd Gaming Corp. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has been a major player in doubling profits for the company every quarter for the last four quarters. Gaming revenue at the Borgata for the second quarter of 2005 was the highest in Atlantic City, up by 13.1% to $170 million. An expansion project to add new slot machines, gaming tables, restaurants, nightclubs and retail outlets is due to be completed early next year. There are further plans to add an 800-room tower before the end of 2007.
Increasing figures for non-gaming revenue in Atlantic City are also fuelling developments. Harrah’s Entertainment’s Bally’s, with the second highest casino revenues for the second quarter at $158.2 million, has completed renovations at its Tower Rooms which cover 25 floors, 700 guest rooms and four floors of suites. The $11.5 million upgrading is intended to make guests feel more at home in a relaxed atmosphere by the use of soft earth tones, warm woods and spicy accents.
Resorts Atlantic City added a $125 million Rendezvous hotel tower, an expanded casino floor, a beach club and, its latest development, an exotic new casino bar and lounge with a European flavour. Wildly shaken martini classics are on the cocktail menu and servers wear a mini version of the trench coat. The three Trump properties in Atlantic City are also scheduled for upgrading, in what has been described both as a $500 million makeover and as like applying Band-Aids, in order to compete with Boyd Gaming’s Borgata. At present it will be very difficult for anyone to catch up with the Borgata or to emulate the resoundingly successful Havana-style The Quarter at the Tropicana. (E-07.27.05)
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