Eye-catching promotions declaring that gamblers can't lose are just a piece of the puzzle for Revel Casino-Hotel, said Scott Kreeger, the man recently tapped to head the $2.4 billion casino.
But those kind of deals alone won't save the property that has seen its share of changes and challenges in the past year, he said.
At 48 years old, with a new baby girl at his Utah home, the casino's new president and chief operating officer jokes that he is now responsible for two newborns: his daughter and Revel.
"I don't think you can promote your way to success," Kreeger said in an interview with The Press of Atlantic City on Monday. "We'll continue to do those out-of-the-box promotions but not every single month. It's about listening to our players and our customers. All the answers lie with them."
Those answers are going to include a new cafe opening at the beginning of November that will include offerings such as a $9.99 steak and shrimp special, and a $3.99 breakfast special - deals that likely would have been scoffed at under previous leadership teams intent on maintaining the property's high-end image. A new players' lounge will open before the end of the year, and changes will be coming to the casino's loyalty club.
"Revel has been through so many different incarnations of management and business philosophy. The plan is for the management team that's coming in place now to be for the long term," Kreeger said. "We will not be interim."
The Fine Point Group, the marketing firm that helped to launch Revel's "You Can't Lose" promotion, will be leaving the property. With a background as a chief marketing officer, Kreeger plans to bring in internal leadership with extensive experience in large resort-style gaming operations. An announcement is coming within the month, he said.
Kreeger arrived in Atlantic City about three months ago as the property's temporary second-in-command. With an extensive background in Las Vegas and a history that began with working for gambling mogul Steve Wynn in the 1990s, Kreeger admittedly had little knowledge of the Atlantic City market.
He was attracted to the challenge: a complex situation bound by financial difficulties and a push from the state and investors that the casino could and would do better in the Atlantic City marketplace. For now, Kreeger is splitting his time between New Jersey and Utah, but he plans to move his family to the area.
Revel emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. Since then, management changes have been made and policies have shifted. No longer is Revel dubbed a "megaresort" rather than a casino. Its no-smoking policy has been called off, and efforts have been made under the leadership of the property's former interim CEO Jeffrey Hartmann to tone down the high-end resort image.
The changes made to date appear to have been successful. Following a "You Can't Lose" promotion promising to refund slot losses, the casino saw its first back-to-back gambling revenue increases. The property then saw a 12 percent decrease in gambling win in September, but is still up 20 percent in gross gambling revenue in the year to date.
Revel is one of only three Atlantic City casinos - the other two being Atlantic Club Casino Hotel and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa - currently maintaining gambling revenue increases this year.
Still, predictions made by at least one casino analyst, Andrew Zarnett, of Deutsche Bank, suggest that Revel still has large hurdles to climb. Zarnett has predicted that if revenues don't continue to improve, Revel will run out of cash in the first half of next year.
"I don't think you can speculate on that," Kreeger said in response. "There are a lot of moving pieces with lenders and owners. We're constantly monitoring the financial stability of the property."
Contact Jennifer Bogdan:
@ACPressJennifer on Twitter