New Jersey’s gamblers are ready to end the saga that was the Revel casino, and they’ve got some great ideas on how to do it.
This past week, New Jersey residents spoke with The Associated Press, revealing what they didn’t like about the hulking waterfront property in hopes that Ocean Resort Casino’s new owners, AC Ocean Walk LLC, will make their soon-to-be-opened casino more gambler friendly.
Issues with the original Revel layout
For example, the hotel’s casino floor confused a lot of customers. One person who spoke with the AP made the gambling floor’s entrance escalator sound more like a medieval gauntlet than a dazzling entryway.
“People fell off it and were hurt, and it’s daunting. The original layout of the casino is horrible. It’s hard to believe some planners actually thought that it would work. Also, a long walk from the parking garage to the casino. Just horribly laid out from the start,” Neptune resident Stan Goldstein was quoted as saying.
A review on TripAdvisor dated April 16 addressed the escalator leading to the gaming floor, as well as the layout:
“Designed to wow, smacks of pretension and just fails. Casino is up-up-up from boardwalk, very open escalator to get there. Once inside, flow is more retail-oriented than player-focused,” wrote a reviewer named “Stanley M.”
Smoking, lack of buffet at the top of customer complaints
When Revel opened in 2014 in Atlantic City, it presented what could be considered an elevated casino experience catering to a younger crowd that was tired of stale gambling experiences running on stale cigarette smoke and cliche buffets.
The casino’s ban on smoking and lack of a buffet, as it turns out, were two major points of frustration for the property’s customers. Visionary? Yes. But one could argue those changes were so far ahead of their time that it played a part in the casino’s demise, at least from a customer satisfaction perspective.
One former customer said that the smoking ban is what made her stay away.
Poor customer service another pain point
Negative TripAdvisor reviews of the property contained one consistent thread through many of the property’s one-star reviews: poor customer service.
Many consumers noted that staff seemed unresponsive to needs, rude at the gaming tables, and had frustrating interactions with management and staff over the fine print of various promotions.
There were a litany of complaints about expensive drinks and nickel-and-diming, but it wouldn’t be the first time casino customers complained about fees.
Will NJ Ocean Resort Casino listen?
The grievances listed in the AP article and on TripAdvisor were many. But it’s important to note that of the 769 reviews, 72 percent were either five or four stars.
This combination of glaring weaknesses and positive praise may indicate that many consumers appreciated the forward-thinking nuances the property offered. Those who had a beef with the former Revel may be the catalyst for change as Ocean Resort Casino undergoes changes.
The discussions going on behind closed doors may include some talk of redoing the entrance that seemed to be the poster child of Revel’s swift downfall. One would think AC Ocean Walk would address that issue, but nothing is for certain.
Aside from these functional changes, it will be interesting to see if the management group chooses to do away with the smoking ban.
While the original concept may very well become popular if millennials make more trips to AC, a smart short-term strategy seems to point to catering to today’s customers.