By Lauren Wanko
As the sun rose over Revel this morning, the staff joined Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in celebrating opening day at the $2.4 billion resort. Outside, over 200 guests lined the boardwalk, waiting patiently for Revel’s doors to open.
Revel’s casino is less then 5 percent of the entire 6.3 million square foot property. Executives have emphasized creating a resort experience for the non-gamers, but Revel’s very first customers were gambling enthusiasts. Glenda Branch drove 2 hours from Maplewood. “This is what we need here, something new something exciting, something Vegas like,” said Branch.
Jerry Colonna was the first person to walk through Revel’s doors this morning. He had been camped outside since 5 a.m. and then he walked away from the roulette table a winner.
Casino executives hope Revel will jump start Atlantic City’s revitalization and declining casino revenue. In the first two months of the year, revenue numbers were down 6.6 percent from the same period in 2011.
Competition from nearby states like Pennsylvania and New York has become an increasing threat to Atlantic City’s casinos. But it didn’t stop Maryann Pellegrino from making the trip from Pennsylvania. “I enjoy Atlantic City, I’d rather come here,” she said.
From the resorts employees to its first time customers, everyone this morning sounded eager to place their bets on Revel. But will the momentum continue to build around the resort? Will casino revenue numbers begin to climb? And will it help Atlantic City become a vacation destination for non gamers? All questions that remain to be answered over the coming months.