By Ian Bush
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Free money, with some fine print.
That’s what the Revel Casino is offering gamblers as it aims to reintroduce itself after emerging from bankruptcy.
It’s the Atlantic City version of taking a mulligan, according to Revel CEO Jeff Hartmann:
“If you win, that’s great. But if you lose, we’ll give you a second chance. Just like we’re asking our customers to give us a second chance.”
Hartmann says they will refund the money you lose on their slot machines next month — provided it’s more than $100.
“Your losses in July will be refunded over a 20-week period beginning in August,” he explains, “as a way to get you to come back to Revel.”
The asterisks: you have to use your Revel player’s club card on the slots, and the rebates are parceled out weekly to the card. For example, if you lose $125, you get $6.25 back on your card each week for the next five months.
But — and this is an important point — if you don’t show up in any particular week, you forfeit that week’s portion of the rebate.
Revel, which is kinda-sorta rebranding itself as Revel Casino-Hotel, also is matching slot offers from other Atlantic City gambling houses.
“We’ve had a few missteps over the last 12 months,” says Hartmann. “This is Revel 2.0. We want you to be wowed by us. We think if we get a second chance, you’ll want to play at Revel all the time.”
The $2.4-billion resort filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year and emerged in May, leaner and with a new management and marketing team.
“They need to recalibrate who their target audience is and how to keep them there,” says gambling industry expert Joseph Weinert, senior vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group. He says striving to attract the affluent out-of-area crowd was a “reach” for Revel at a time when Pennsylvania’s casinos were just cropping up.
“I know of very few people who have gone in Revel and have not been wowed by the physical amenities there,” Weinert says. “But the ‘wow factor’ gets you only so far if you don’t care for the experience, or find it’s not in your budget to stay there or be entertained, or if it’s not offering the same rewards for gamblers that they are accustomed to in other casinos.”
Weinert says he thinks Revel will see better success with this greater push for locals who might be willing to part with their cash during a short stay at the shore.
“Revel is saying, let’s go back for the core gambler in the two-to-four hour drive radius of Atlantic City. Let’s show them what we’ve got, give them great service, and welcome them back,” explains Weinert. “I don’t think the results are going to get any lower than they’ve been. With new management, new marketing, new price points, and new amenities, I think you will see growth in the property in short order.”