ATLANTIC CITY — Revel characterized Monday’s opening day as “a great success,” but declined to disclose details about the amount of business generated from the crowds at the $2.4 billion megaresort.
Hundreds of people surged into Revel when the doors opened at 7 a.m. Monday, followed by even heavier crowds throughout the day and night as the excitement level grew over Atlantic City’s first new casino in nine years.
“We are very pleased with the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to our resort,” Revel spokeswoman Maureen Siman said in a statement Tuesday. “We are in preview mode and we expected to experience issues — which we did — and we are working to resolve those issues. Overall, opening day for Revel was a great success and we look forward to the premiere weekend May 25 through 28.”
Siman did not elaborate on which issues need to be addressed. Lisa Spengler, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said “everything went smoothly” at Revel during the first day.
Revel opened to the public following a sunrise toast by Chief Executive Officer Kevin DeSanctis and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. However, the affair was relatively subdued. Revel is planning to make a much bigger splash during a grand opening ceremony over the Memorial Day weekend headlined by pop superstar Beyonce, who will perform three concerts.
Despite the lack of opening-day hoopla, crowds swarmed through the colossal complex to get the first glimpse of Revel’s upscale decor and the panoramic ocean views that unfold throughout the beachfront property.
“It’s a ‘wow!’ On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 12,” said Jerry Colonna, a gambler from Mount Laurel, Burlington County, who was the first person on Revel’s casino floor Monday morning.
Siman declined to give a crowd estimate for opening day. Revel also did not release information about the amount of gambling revenue it grossed or whether it sold out the 500 hotel rooms it had available for the first night. Revel plans to offer more rooms each week until it hits its full complement of nearly 1,900.
Revel’s winnings from the slot machines and table games will be made public when the Division of Gaming Enforcement releases its monthly revenue report for all 12 Atlantic City casinos. The division does not disclose daily revenue figures for casinos.
The division, the chief regulatory body for the casino industry, issued a statement Tuesday saying that Revel’s first day went off without any major hitches. The division has been closely monitoring Revel’s operations for the past month, including three pre-opening “play days” that served as a dress rehearsal for Monday’s debut.
“During the month prior to opening, the preopening event and with the official opening, the division has been pleased with the cooperation of Revel in working with our staff of investigators and engineers to address any issues and to ensure the integrity of operations,” the statement said. “We are excited about the positive news that Revel has spurred about Atlantic City and are confident in the continued excitement generated by the addition of Atlantic City’s 12th casino.”
Some casino analysts have been calling Revel a “game-changer” for the Atlantic City market, now mired in a five-year slump. Others have been less enthusiastic, saying that Revel may not greatly expand the market.
“While many believe new capital investment may help revive Atlantic City’s fortunes, we do not believe new capital investment by itself (Revel) will be a game-changer for this market. In our opinion, added competition from Revel will eat into existing operators’ revenues, as was the experience when the Borgata opened in June 2003,” Deutsche Bank casino analyst Andrew Zarnett wrote in a research report Monday.
Israel Posner, a casino analyst at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, was far more optimistic about Revel’s impact. He believes Revel’s array of entertainment and resort-style attractions will help broaden the city’s appeal as a tourist destination.
“Atlantic City now joins a very elite group of resort destinations around the world that represent the best resorts in the world. The city that was once … a U.S. hub for casino gaming is now the hub for lifestyle and resort entertainment,” said Posner, executive director of Stockton’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism.
In an interview Monday, DeSanctis, Revel’s CEO, expressed confidence that Revel will expand the market instead of simply cannibalizing business from the older casinos.
“If all we do is steal market share from everyone else, I don’t think that is a very good result,” he said.
Staff Writer Emily Previti contributed to this report.
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