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Revel CEO Optimistic Marketing Strategy Targeting Gamblers will Grow Profitability

7-4-13

Atlantic City’s newest casino Revel hasn’t done as well as officials had hoped. The company filed for bankruptcy after not meeting expectations and as part of its restructuring process it has implemented a marketing plan to try to entice more gamblers to visit its facility. Revel Hotel-Casino CEO Jeffrey Hartmann told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he’s optimistic for the company’s future and believes the new “You Can’t Lose” strategy will generate excitement for the casino.

Hartmann said his biggest challenge at Revel is to get more gambling revenue. “The property has not performed up to our expectations and we need to do a better job of recruiting gamblers to Revel,” he said. “We think that this promotion, ‘You Can’t Lose’ in July, will help start mitigate that challenge.”

The promotion is unique to Revel in North America, according to Hartmann. He explained that the casino will rebate losses back to customers from $100 to $100,000 based on losses in July. “If you win, that’s great, but if you happen to lose during the month of July, we’ll give that back to you beginning Aug. 5 for a 20-week period,” he said. “So it’s a phenomenal program and we think it drives a lot of excitement to the property.”

Hartmann said Revel is a great building that needs to be marketed better. “We just need to focus the assets to optimize what this building was built for. You know we’ve done a great job catering to leisure guests or group guests, but we didn’t do such a great job with gamblers,” he said. “So we’re now positioning the asset to cater to gamblers, which we think will help grow our profitability.”

According to the CEO, the casino has all the characteristics needed to be successful. “We have the newest gaming floor, the best hotel rooms that have beautiful ocean views, a great spa, great restaurants. We’ve added some value options. We’ve fixed some of the ways you can get around in Revel and increased our way finding signage,” he said. “So I think the property today is best positioned to ultimately achieve what it was designed to do — be the best asset, the marquee asset in the Atlantic City market.”

In order to get more gamblers to Revel, Hartmann said the company is targeting people in other states as well as those who visit Atlantic City. “We’re trying to move customers who right now play somewhere else at facilities that clearly aren’t as nice as Revel. So by refunding losses in July and matching competitors’ offers, we’re trying to attract those who currently come to Atlantic City today combined with marking the gamblers, people who have been here from Pennsylvania, Maryland or New York,” he explained. “We’re asking them to come back, give us a second shot because the experience at Revel is second to none in terms of what they may have in their local community.”

Besides gambling, Hartmann said Revel offers a unique experience with Ovation Hall, which seats 5,000. He said Steely Dan, Bill Maher and an HBO boxing event are scheduled at Ovation Hall this summer. “The entertainment assets we have at this property are unmatched in Atlantic City and probably unmatched on the East Coast, so you’re gonna see more of that as a tool to be utilized to get people to come and play and stay playing at Revel,” he said.

Hartmann said he’s not worried about the possibility of internet gambling because he sees it as an opportunity for Revel. “We’ll have one of the 12 internet licenses that are available so clearly that’s really a precious license that will help us. I think our strategy longer term will be no different than retailers who establish online portals but you still shop at Macy’s in Herald Square in New York City because you want that full shopping experience. So we see the internet as the same way,” he explained.

The casino’s plan is to have an online gambling site where customers can earn points to maintain loyalty to Revel, Hartmann explained. He said when they want a full gaming experience, they can then go to Atlantic City and stay and play at Revel.

Hartmann said he only feels pressure that he puts on himself and praised the Revel team for their dedication and hard work. “I’ve been here a little over three months and I’ve been so impressed with the team. We have a great group of professionals working through a reposition of the property so every day I’m fortunate,” he said. “When I drive in and come to work I have 3,000 people that are in line supporting our vision. It’s been a great experience.”