Surely a ban on smoking can’t be the root of Revel Casino’s money problems. Nevertheless, since the casino's opening, gamblers and critics alike have repeatedly expressed disappointment in the smoke-free environment, and complained that the celebrity-chef-driven restaurants were just too damn fancy. As the troubled resort, which opened as Atlantic City’s first and only fully non-smoking casino and hotel less than a year ago, heads toward bankruptcy proceedings next week, “practical changes,” including a retrofitted smoking area, are being hashed out, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Interim CEO Jeffrey Hartmann cites “improving the customer experience” as a key to Revel’s ability to climb out of its financial hole. And he’s betting that lifting the smoking ban will bring more gamblers — apparently, the majority of them are smokers.
Other changes under way include the new beach bar we mentioned last week, and bringing on more reasonably priced restaurants. Though focusing on smoking gamblers and cheap eats may save the sinking ship, it pretty much condemns the notion that with higher-end amenities, Revel would set a new standard for Atlantic City’s resorts.