It took a drubbing in the marketplace and a trip through bankruptcy court, but Atlantic City's newest casino is doing a 180-degree turnaround. Revel is embracing the bread-and-butter of the gambling industry in a tacit admission that its above-it-all attitude in its first year was a near-fatal mistake.
First of all, the $2.4 billion resort that insisted that people call it by its one-word name, now acknowledges that it is a casino after all. It's now officially called Revel Casino-Hotel.
And it's no longer confused about what it wants. Its new marketing theme is called "Gamblers Wanted."
Having recently scraped its no-smoking policy and let gamblers light up on the casino floor for the first time, addressing a major complaint from patrons last year, Revel is embarking on an extremely costly promotion aimed at bringing more people through the doors, and hoping they like what they see enough to keep coming back.
Starting July 1 and continuing for the entire month, Revel will refund 100 percent of slots losses to anyone who signs up for a players' club card from the casino, along with current club card customers. It also will match any other casino's slots offers.
"Everybody deserves a second chance, and in order for Revel to earn one, we are offering a second chance to every slot customer," said Jeff Hartmann, Revel's Chief Executive Officer.
Randall Fine, managing director of The Fine Group, which now oversees Revel's marketing, said the idea is to appeal to people who now play elsewhere.
"We recognize that gamblers have been playing in Atlantic City for decades and have built up comp and offer history with our competitors," he said.
Since it opened in April 2012, Revel presented itself as a destination resort that just happened to have a casino, too. Although Revel did well with leisure travelers and group bookings, that strategy seemed to backfire as many gamblers tried it, then reverted back to their previous favorite casinos.
But Revel's new executives have said they want to pay more attention to the gambling side of the business, improving the casino's performance. It has ranked near the bottom of Atlantic City's 12 casinos in terms of the amount of money won from gamblers.
For the first five months of this year, Revel has won just over $46 million, worse than all but one of the city's casinos, the struggling Trump Plaza Hotel Casino, which won just $29.8 million over that same period.
Revel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year and emerged from it last month with far less debt and a new management and marketing team.
The casino recently opened a new high-limit slots area and added a players' club lounge, both of which were presented as part of a renewed effort to make gamblers feel more welcome.