If you build something in the real world and you project $560 million of annual revenue from your $2.4 billion investment, and you actually generate $200 million of revenue, you get fired. When you are the governor of New Jersey and you’ve handed out $261 million of taxpayer dollars to the fuckwads running this joint, you get re-elected to another term and get selected to make the keynote address at the Republican Convention. Christie also promised 5,000 NEW FULL-TIME jobs for Atlantic City and the Revel actually has 2,780 full time employees. So Christie’s promises were only off by 64% on revenue and 44% on number of jobs.
This is the Republican method of less government in your lives. It actually means less money in your pocket. This albatross will not be able to make its loan payments in the next year. It will declare bankruptcy. It will be a vacant rotting hulk that should be renamed Christie’s Delusion as a tribute to his brilliance in picking winners.
Down on its luck: Revel jobs, revenue falling below projections
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 6:24 AM Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 6:24 AM
By Jarrett Renshaw and Salvador Rizzo/Statehouse Bureau
The fledgling Revel casino and resort hotel is generating much less gaming revenue and fewer full-time jobs than the Christie administration expected when it showered the new Atlantic City venture with a $261 million tax incentive package last year, state records show.
The shiny $2.4 billion resort, acclaimed for its beauty and amenities, is on pace to take in $200 million in gaming revenue during its first 12 months of operation, according to a Star-Ledger analysis of records filed with Economic Develeopment Authority and the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.
That would mean Revel will fall roughly $360 million short of what the Christie administration banked on when it agreed to help salvage the project last year.
Comparatively, the highest-grossing casino in the city, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, took in $651 million in gaming revenue last year, according to annual revenue figures compiled by Gaming Enforcement.
Maureen Siman, a Revel spokeswoman, said the initiall estimate of $560 million doesn’t apply to the first nine months, but to the first full calendar year, or 2013. She noted there are already signs of a turnaround, citing a 17 percent uptick in gaming revenue and a 21 percent jump in the occupancy rate last month.
Siman said too much importance is being attached of the weak gaming revenue figures, saying the resort aspires to be more than just a slot shop, but also a global tourist destination. “Our revenue and profit is driven in large part by non-gaming sources rather than just the gaming-centric model which has unfortunately been the focus for Atlantic City, at least historically,” Siman wrote in an email.
But gaming analysts say the property’s financial problems are real. They say the casino is not taking enough cash from its slot machines and table games to keep up with monthly debt payments, setting off concerns among industry watchers of an untimely bankruptcy
“Look, Revel is opening in a tough location, in a rough economy, and it’s 100 percent no-smoking, which is a little tougher,” Larry Klatzkin, a long-time casino industry analyst, said. “In the next summer, it will be doing fine. The question is, does it have enough financial wherewithal to make it to the next summer?”
Hailed as a game-changing addition to Atlantic City, Revel became the city’s 12th casino this year and the first to open in nine years. The hotel features 1,400 guest rooms, 14 restaurants, and seven pools.
The outgoing executive at the EDA, Caren Franzini, told the agency’s board in a 2011 memo that Revel would generate $560 million in revenue in its first year from its sprawling 150,000 square-foot gaming floor. But the initial returns have been lackluster.
In the first full four months of operation — which includes the peak summer months — Revel has been running near the end of the pack among the city’s other casinos and is on pace to take in roughly $200 million after its first 12 months, the Star-Ledger analysis shows.
Mike Pollock, a managing director at Spectrum Gaming, said Revel may be stumbling through its first summer season but its long-term strategy — relying less on the casino and more on the resort — is Atlantic City’s future.
“Atlantic City was built under the assumption that it was the most convenient place in the east to gamble,” he said. “That is a failed model going forward.”
Revel’s own financial projections suggest the casino may have been been too optimistic about gaming revenue.
The casino’s officials told the state they anticipated raking in $46.6 million a month — roughly triple its current pace — in gaming revenue.
John Kempf, a casino industry analyst at RBC Capital Markets, calculates that Revel needs to bring in $25 million to $30 million every month in gaming revenue just to make its monthly debt payments. But the casino has collected only $15 million a month on average from April to July, Gaming Enforcement records show.
Revel may not want to build its long-term business on the slot market, but it will need to ramp it up anyway to find its financial footing in the short term, Kempf said.
“The slot customers have loyalty to their casinos. They want amenities. They want free play. They’re not interested in high-cost restaurants,” Kempf added.
Christie and the EDA both touted the project as a job creator, predicting it would bring in about 5,000 full-time jobs. “Now completed, the Revel project supports over 10,000 jobs, with more than 5,000 being permanent jobs for New Jerseyans,” a Christie March news release boasted.
But the latest job figures submitted to the Casino Control Commission show Revel has only 2,780 full-time jobs. When you include part-timers the number grows to 3,837 employees, records show.
Siman says the company incorrectly described the initial job numbers as exclusively full-time, when they also included part-time workers.
In one of Christie’s biggest gambles, his administration salvaged the ambitious $2.4 billion casino project after Morgan Stanley decided it was better walk away from its $1.3 billion investment in 2010 than move forward. The casino’s CEO and partial owner, Kevin DeSanctis, was then forced to scramble to find investors to finish construction.
Under the incentive plan, Revel will recover 75 cents out of every new dollar in state revenue it generates. Spread out over 20 years, the total incentive package is capped at $261 million, but the final tally could be much less if the casino is unsuccessful.
“It’s like giving away the sleeves of your vest,” Timothy J. Lizura, the chief operating officer for the state Economic Development Authority, said. ” If they don’t generate any new revenue, we don’t give any back. If they do, then we keep 25 percent. It’s virtually riskless for the state.”
The governor is also betting that the resort will produce the first bump in state casino tax revenue since 2006. He’s predicting casino revenues to grow by 14 percent — or $38 million — in the current $31.7 billion budget signed in June. But overall revenues saw a 10 percent dip last month.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said, “We are not buying into this naysayer approach to redevelopment in Atlantic City. We understand the concern, but it’s still a very difficult environment. Everyone, on both sides of the aisle, recognized the issues and were not willing to give up on Atlantic City.”