Monday, March 21, 2011

Atlantic City Sees 6.2% Visitor Drop

ABC News: More than 26.6 million people visited Atlantic City casinos last year, a decrease of 6.2 percent. But a new survey finds spending per visitor fell by only half that amount, indicating that the people who have stopped coming to the nation's second-largest gambling market are the less-profitable customers the casinos have been paying less attention to in recent years.

The stakes are high in Atlantic City, which is in the fifth-straight year of a revenue decline brought on by the explosion of casino gambling in neighboring states and made worse by the poor economy.

For the past five years, it has been trying to remake itself as a destination resort for higher-spending customers willing to stay a few days and take in shows, go shopping and eat at gourmet restaurants in addition to gambling.

A new statistical survey by Spectrum Gaming Group, an Atlantic City-area consulting firm, indicates that the strategy is working, to some extent. It found the casinos' win-per-visitor was nearly $134 last year, down 3.6 percent from 2009 and nearly 8 percent from 2008.

"It's clear that the low-end visitor is more likely to migrate to other places," said Michael Pollock, Spectrum's managing director. "But it also shows that you have the ability to hold on to your high-end visitor if you have something to offer them.

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