Atlantic City Casinos See Visitor Drop
But spending per visitor fell by only half that amount, indicating that the people who have stopped coming are the ones that spend the least amount of cash, reports the Associated Press.
The statistical survey by Spectrum Gaming Group, an Atlantic City-area consulting firm, found the casinos' win-per-visitor was down 3.6 % from last year, or about $134.
"It's clear that the low-end visitor is more likely to migrate to other places," said Michael Pollock, Spectrum's managing director. "You want to replace the convenience gambler with a higher-end customer."
Atlantic City is in the fifth-straight year of a revenue decline, the victim of casinos in neighboring states stealing away customers, and the poor economy. In recent years, it has tried to remake itself as a destination for higher-spending clientele, who will not only gamble, but spend money on shows, shopping and dining out.
The casino destination has used "Boardwalk Empire," the HBO series set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City as a promotional tool to draw in new visitors.
"It's an hour-long commercial for Atlantic City, top-of-the mind awareness," said Don Marrandino, eastern regional president of Harrah's Entertainment, last year, reported USA Today. "People will want to come here and see it for themselves, and we need to take full advantage of that."
Bob Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, said to the news outlet that, "The gamblers that are being loyal to Atlantic City are playing more. We're getting more out of fewer players. The business we're losing is the convenience gambler; they're just staying home. But the core gamblers are sticking with us."
The survey found that the most profitable gamblers played at the three casinos in the marina district: Borgata, Harrah's and Trump Marina Hotel Casino.
The least profitable cluster was the so-called Route 40 cluster, consisting of the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort, which is in financial difficulties, and the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which is trying to rebuild market share after being sold to billionaire Carl Icahn for pennies on the dollar last year.