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US – Margaritaville helps boost Resorts’ visitor rates by 38 per cent

By - 3 October 2013

Margaritaville Atlantic City at Resorts Casino has emerged as the Margaritaville brand’s most successful launch to date.

July and August revenue in Atlantic City was the highest for any Margaritaville location during this time period, even with the portfolio encompassing more than 20 properties in the United States, Mexico and Australia, among other destinations.  Patrons at Margaritaville Atlantic City had a festive summer, consuming more than 75,000 margaritas and purchasing an additional 25,000 branded blender cups!

Results inside the casino were also positive.  Overall customer visitation numbers at the casino were up 25 per cent May through August, while property-wide restaurant patronage was up by 175,000, or 38 per cent.  The casino announced that August gaming revenues were up more than 11 per cent versus the prior year. The results followed gains for Resorts in July, as well, at 6.2 per cent versus the prior year.

“The gains at Resorts Casino are significant for Atlantic City as a whole,” said Resorts Casino Owner Morris Bailey. “We’re not trying to ‘out-Vegas’ Las Vegas,” Bailey continued. “We’re bringing the fun back to Atlantic City and focusing on the natural amenities that historically have given us a unique identity – the beautiful beach itself and the legendary boardwalk here at Resorts Casino.”

Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, added “The addition of the Margaritaville brand has been an ideal fit as we position Resorts Casino to offer a playful, fun atmosphere that is appealing and inviting to new audiences. We’re so pleased to see initial results exceeding even our own expectations. ”

The Margaritaville complex includes Atlantic City’s first year-round bar and restaurant located directly on the beach, the LandShark Bar & Grill, as well as a Margaritaville Cafe, Margaritaville-themed casino area, Five O’clock Somewhere bar, retail stores, and coffee shop.

The development came about in August of 2012, when Resorts Casino Hotel owner Morris Bailey turned to Mohegan Gaming Advisors (MGA) in a bid to revive the fortunes of Atlantic City’s original casino. MGA, a subsidiary of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) which owns Mohegan Sun Casino, assumed management of Resorts and made an initial investment in the property. Together, Bailey and MGA also placed a strategic bet on Resorts’ future – gambling that an investment of more than $70m in casino upgrades, including the addition of a $35m Margaritaville complex, would lure new audiences to the casino. Margaritaville at Resorts Casino launched in the summer of 2013 with a ribbon-cutting presided over by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and a Jimmy Buffett concert on the beach that drew more than 50,000 fans.  Right from the start of its overflow Memorial Day Weekend opening, it became clear that bets on Margaritaville and Resorts were paying off.  What’s more, Resorts’ focus on Atlantic City’s beachfront heritage may offer a potential blueprint for gradual improvement elsewhere in Atlantic City.

The investment in Margaritaville at Resorts Casino has helped transform the property to a more complete leisure destination, matching the vision that Governor Christie and other state and local officials have established for Atlantic City itself. The successful turnaround offers confirmation that emphasizing Atlantic City’s beachfront identity as a gaming destination can pay dividends. The city’s fortunes have been closely watched as competition in nearby states has eroded a portion of its audience. Indeed, Resorts’ summer gains have come against a backdrop of declines at a number of Atlantic City casinos, with overall gaming revenues down 3.6 per cent and 4.8 per cent in July and August respectively.  However, gains at Resorts Casino and others in the market offer opportunities for future recovery.

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