The beachfront destination is the first 100 percent smoke-free casino in Atlantic City, and features 1,898 rooms each with an ocean or bay view, two performance theaters, 14 restaurants — several by celebrity chefs Jose Garces, Marc Forgione, and Michel Richard — two nightclubs, a day club, a spa, a beach club, and cabanas.
And, oh, yeah, there’s a 130,000-square-foot casino on the sixth level with 2,450 slot machines and 160 table games.
Beyoncé performed Friday night in Revel’s new $75 million, 5,050-seat Ovation Hall, the first of four sold-out shows over Memorial Day weekend.
"The bottom line is: Can this property attract the Atlantic City rejecters?" said Joel Simkins, senior gaming analyst at Credit Suisse, during a panel at last week’s East Coast Gaming Congress here. "Is there a market for a high-end, Las Vegas-style, South Beach, Fountainebleau-like property? It’s really too early to make a judgment."
The $2.4 billion Revel aims to step up Atlantic City’s game in the convention and midweek market and put the focus on boosting non-gambling revenue. It offers 160,000 square feet of meeting and convention space in addition to all its other non-gaming attractions, including 55,000 square feet of retail shops; the first store, Denim Habit, opened Friday, and the others will open throughout the summer.
"We’ve created a point of indifference in our business model between a gaming customer and a nongaming customer," said Revel chief executive Kevin DeSanctis. By doing that, "your gaming revenue may be the same, but you’re going to have very profitable rooms, food and beverage, and other revenue."
Touted as "a modern, innovative beachfront resort" in videos and TV commercials, Revel had $1.3 billion invested in it before the bottom fell out in late 2008. It added $1.1 billion more last year — with the State of New Jersey kicking in $261 million in tax credits — to resume construction after a two-year delay to complete the interiors.
"Revel must attract a new luxury, resort customer," said Greg Roselli, gaming and lodging analyst at UBS Securities L.L.C. in Stamford, Conn. "The goal of this property is to grow this market.
“Whether it ... will work or not will be a matter of time," he said. "But there’s more than enough of the demographics in and around Atlantic City" to help Revel succeed.
But at least one analyst thinks Revel will steal market share from others in town, including the Borgata in the Marina District, which Revel is modeled after.
"When you add a new property to a market that’s not growing ... that new property just takes market share from everybody else," gaming analyst Andrew Zarnett of Deutsche Bank AG said of the new mega-casino. "When you have cannibalization ... you get competitors that rub elbows against each other."
Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or email@example.com.