Atlantic City is the gaming capital of the East Coast, although don't be fooled by this tidbit of information. They still have their work cut out for them. Atlantic City is often noted as being 15-20 years behind the "development" of its West Coast counterpart - Las Vegas. A $750 million joint venture between Boyd Gaming and Mirage Resorts, named "The Borgata", is slated to open in the fall 2002, and is expected to bring a breath of fresh air to the development and attractiveness of Atlantic City.
Before you say, "This is article is unrealistic, or even consider it Atlantic City bashing, think again. I have lived next to Atlantic City most of my life. I enjoy Atlantic City. They have made significant improvements in the last few years, and hopefully, more are on the way.
My argument is that there are a multitude of fundamental differences between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. When you compare the two gaming Mecca's, putting aside the physical settings between them, they are miles apart (pun intended). Las Vegas has the upper hand on cleanliness, food, service, attractions, and square footage. Why you say?
Perhaps it is the weather on the East Coast. Perhaps it is the age of the city. Atlantic City needs a lot of soap and water or a major reconstructive face-lift. To plant some trees and build a fountain might be a good start! Grass is non-existent. Add some sod! If you are going to charge $2.00 to park in a parking garage, at least repave the roads and clean the streets once in a while.
A phenomenon I cannot explain is the absolute difference in food quality between Atlantic City and Las Vegas buffets. They do ship fresh food to the East Coast right? I have visited Las Vegas many times and really enjoyed the quality and freshness of the food. Each time I went back to Atlantic City, I was horrified to see canned pineapple and boxed mashed potatoes! They desperately need a well-valued buffet in Atlantic City. Many of the ones we visited don't even come close to those in Las Vegas.
The dealers and the staff never seem as attentive, happy, or outgoing in Atlantic City. Again, maybe it is the weather. Perhaps doctors prescribe more Prozac and Ritalin on the West Coast? I am at a loss of words to explain this. Can anyone explain this?
Just about every casino in Las Vegas has a "shtick", an attraction to draw people to THEIR casino (a volcano, white tigers, dolphins, a roller coaster, a good show). Atlantic City has missed the boat on this little marketing gem. Although there has been an effort to develop this area, there is a lot of room for improvement. The future Atlantic City is right around the corner, and the smart casinos will create a "shtick" soon.
Another issue that is stunning to most visitors, is that you sometimes have to wait to play at a slot machine or at some table games. This usually occurs during peak times such as Friday, Saturdays, and even on major holidays. Many gamblers in Las Vegas would be annoyed if this were to happen to them.
Table limits in Atlantic City have absolutely skyrocketed in the past few years. While Las Vegas has $3 minimums in many places - even during peak times, it is practically impossible to find a $5 blackjack table during a peak time in Atlantic City. You are lucky to even find a $10 table at that time. Even if you find one, it is sometimes 2 people deep waiting to play. Many tables are $10-15 minimums, and many more require $25 minimums.
Many of the Atlantic City bigwigs, namely Donald Trump, did not exactly roll out the red carpet for Steve Winn's company. In fact, he fought every step of the way to prevent Steve Winn's proposal for a new casino. The fact is Trump and the other casinos will have to spend more money to keep their customers coming back. The introduction of The Borgata will stimulate a new level of competition among the casinos.
The Atlantic City casinos need a wake up call. Maybe they should visit Las Vegas and get some hints. I say no comparison!