Atlantic City’s Boardwalk casino received its third name change in less than a year today.
But as a report by ABC News suggests, the new identity for The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel (a.k.a. The Atlantic City Hilton) is the easy part, as the casino has been struggling for the last year to keep up. And it’s no surprise it’s heading straight for the bottom of the market, with its $19 hotel rooms, 25-cent gambling chips and discount-every-day promotions – it could be said the casino is cheapening the AC façade.
However, going down-market was apparently the only option for the hotel-casino as the other two alternatives, that of: a) compete head-to-head with newer luxury resorts like the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, or b) close the doors, lay off nearly 1,900 people and take a multi-million-dollar loss, were both impossible. As Michael Frawley, the casino’s chief operating officer, says in a report by The Associated Press: “We knew we were going to have to differentiate ourselves in some way. We had to have a very clear definition of what our position was in this market. Prior to 2008, just being a casino was enough. Now, we have to make a stand on who we want to be.”
Frawley said that this is the casino “for the rest of us,” staking its very survival on winning the loyalty of casino players who want the fun without spending a lot of money.
Can this approach seal the casino’s survival? Or will the “cheap route” be too off-putting for AC casino goers?
“We knew that competing in the high-limit tables games is for somebody else. We needed another reason for people to come, and that’s letting them play without breaking the bank,” Frawley added.
The name change has signalled the start of The Atlantic Club’s position as a real “budget” casino, with the renting of some rooms starting at as little as $19 a night — about one-tenth of what its upscale competitors get. And this isn’t a one-off promotion either; it’s what the casino will be offering permanently. It may be putting pressure on management to drive more customers through the doors, but Frawley insists the casino cannot survive without significantly increasing its customer base, and he thinks this is the best way to do it.
Will this tactic work?
In other casino name-change related news, Downtown Vegas’ Fitzgeralds hotel-casino will rename itself to D Las Vegas and spend $15 million to renovate while it remains open, a report by The Washington Post confirms.
Casino owner Derek Stevens said today that he bought the casino last year with the intention of “sprucing things up” and making it a hotter spot – so it looks like he thinks a name change is all that’s needed to ensure that comes true.
Stevens, who also owns the majority of the nearby Golden Gate casino, said in a report by The Associated Press: “I really didn’t want to buy the hotel to maintain the (current) hotel.”