Revel, still struggling, will lay off 75 senior-management staffers

Cuts are part of a "comprehensive cost-rationalization initiative," a Revel news release said.
Cuts are part of a "comprehensive cost-rationalization initiative," a Revel news release said. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff)
Posted: July 17, 2013

Revel announced another round of layoffs Monday amid still-slumping gambling revenue at the struggling Atlantic City casino.

This time, 75 salaried positions, all at the senior-management level, will be eliminated. The cuts represent 2 percent of Revel's workforce of about 3,500 and include no front-line casino employees.

A company news release called the reductions part of a "launch of a comprehensive cost-rationalization initiative."

"We are going through a difficult exercise here," interim chief executive officer Jeffrey Hartmann said in an interview Monday. "We are looking at how to run the business given the difficult operating environment."

Hartmann said the 15-month-old Revel turned a profit for the first time in the first week of July, after launching an aggressive slots-refund promotion for the month.

"During the July Fourth week of 2012, Revel was materially unprofitable," he said. "This year, our gaming revenues were up substantially, and our free slot play as a percentage of revenue fell significantly.

"Now, as we experience revenue growth, we must simultaneously reduce our cost structure that contributed to the $150 million loss for the 12 months ending March 31, 2013."

Before filing for bankruptcy in May, Revel laid off 83 employees. After those April layoffs, Hartmann said he "didn't anticipate any further cuts in the foreseeable future."

That changed, according to interim chief operating officer Scott Kreeger, hired Wednesday as part of a management overhaul. Among the positions eliminated Monday was that of senior vice president of resort operations. Hartmann said staffers who reported to the person in that job now report to Kreeger.

Last month, Revel generated $11.6 million from slots and table games, 10th among the dozen Atlantic City casinos. The near-bottom finish came after it added smoking lounges, a beach bar, and other amenities post-bankruptcy.

"The Revel organizational structure was established to support a level of revenues that have not been achieved over the 15 months of operation," Kreeger said.

By contrast, market leader Borgata, which grossed $48.6 million in total gaming revenue in June, has about 5,500 employees.

"As we strive to operate Revel as a sustainable business year-round, it is clear that we have to make some changes. It's unfortunate any time you have to let a professional go," Hartmann said. "But we are trying to get the company on sound financial footing on a long-term basis, and these are some of the decisions we have to make. . . . The cost structure of the company still needs work. . . . We need to grow revenues and get the company to break even."

Wall Street analysts have said it could take years before Revel, built at a cost of $2.4 billion, reached profitability. The Chapter 11 reorganization it just completed eliminated nearly $2 billion in debt, but the massive casino resort is still burning cash to keep operating.

Though Revel's slots market share increased from 3.7 percent to 4.3 percent last month, the casino's year-over-year numbers remained weak. It posted a 22 percent decline in slots revenue compared to June 2012, and a 23.7 percent decline in table-games revenue.


Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2855, sparmley@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @SuzParmley.

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