A recent trip to Atlantic City for a Steve Aoki pool party hosted by HQ at Revel underlined a trend and an ongoing shift which will define how Atlantic City and other destinations will survive and thrive. Until recently Atlantic City was a mini-Vegas on the Atlantic Coast. It had little competition for gaming except for a few scattered and incomparable casinos. The debate has always been Vegas versus AC but now with gaming a moment away from being within 30 minutes of most East Coast cities, Atlantic City must go back to the future in its philosophy.
Ironically the city on which the board game Monopoly is based is losing its luster because it no longer has a near monopoly on casino type gambling. New York seems ready and Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut will surely try to cash in. Atlantic City has lost billions of dollars in revenues over the last 10 years and thousands of jobs as well. The closing of the Atlantic Club and soon the Showboat means thousands more jobs lost. The ten remaining casinos will surely adjust, downsize and some even close as the handwriting is in the sand.
It is in that sand, the Boardwalk and the saltwater taffy where a bright future may be found. Organizations like DO AC and new Mayor Dan Guardian are aware of the need to emphasize what has traditionally attracted people to Atlantic City. AC has always gone way up and always crashed only to be resurrected once again. It is the beach that has always saved AC. Its romantic tradition will make AC a destination.
The casinos will exploit yet another resource, the ability for the big hotels to feature huge DJs. Vacationers and the locals who travel from Delaware and Philadelphia for the Vegas like hotels, shows and gaming will also enjoy world class EDM talent. Atlantic City will provide a routing stop for superstar DJs who will probably also play Las Vegas, NYC and Miami.
Tiesto just performed at HQ for the 4th of July weekend and we will see more international talent as large EDM shows will be used to bring all the boys and girls to the beach. Nightclub & Bar caught up with Matt Minichino, Director of East Coast Operations for Hakkasan Group and asked him all about it.
Is it felt that the earning potential in the East can rival Vegas?
Absolutely; without having to travel to Las Vegas or Miami domestically – two locations heavily known for their EDM scene and the talent they bring in – consumers alternatively have the option to stay in the northeast knowing that the same internationally-acclaimed talent are performing in Atlantic City.
What are the differences and similarities in the culture of Vegas and AC?
The Jersey shore is home to many – Jersey locals, New Yorkers, Philadelphians and beyond. AC, while a destination on its own, is also a proud part of the Jersey Shore and that intimacy of community is one Vegas does not offer. That said, the environment and accessibility to casinos, entertainment and top-tier talent remains the same of Vegas and encourages a similar culture.
Are popular DJs attracting big spending crowds a summer concept for AC?
Yes; HQ Beach Club and Nightclub and the talent they attract have promoted such crowds continued attendance – but this is beyond summer. Big DJs playing in AC is a year-round concept, as AC is a destination with many offerings all year.
Now without the ACES train, is the NYC patron more inclined to go to Vegas and are big DJ bookings a way to impact that?
Big DJ bookings certainly have a play in impacting this – as does the state-of-the-art equipment and lighting utilized, the level of service, beach and ocean views etc.