Consider yesterday's post a set up. I think I made arguments that AC should experience some issues with lost revenues from daily players, have proven that they already have (PA slots rev higher in Dec), and the overall horseshit that players have to get through just to get there.
Bam left a comment with a little sort of disagreement. HOP seems to think he's right in the sense that, of course, properties will offer bargains and incentives in order to keep your business from going elsewhere. Heff also wrote up a very astute point of view. One that comes from personal experience considering his own barriers from where he resides.
People tend to make judgments about business decisions, especially when it's not their business and usually over look many factors. From the outside, it is obvious to most that AC will face an uphill battle. Again, supply and demand dictates that when the supply exceeds the demand, those that do the best job will come out on top. And not only come out on top, but, by the very nature of business, destroy all those others who may try to keep a little taste of the market.
What we have here however is an anomaly which resides in the very product that is being offered. Gambling. See what most people forget is the very fact that gambling breeds demand. With the Sands opening table games in Bethlehem, PA, some might think that those who lived in that area and always traveled to AC might forgo their little $100 trips down south and just play right smack in their hometowns. It makes sense, and will probably happen... to an extent. It's also safe to say that out of the 500,000 players who reside in the A-B-E area of PA (Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton) maybe 20,000 of them actually ever made the jaunt to AC. The point I'm making is that these new properties don't care about AC and taking their players. What they do care about is creating a whole new base of players to cater to. Now, I am making this case with poker being the main focus. So let's see what AC has to do to be sure that they themselves will be able to keep, if not grow, their existing business.
Let me tell you, the conversations I have had with management types down in AC have not all been doom and gloom. Sure, it's easy to panic and say "GOOD CHRIST! what are we going to do?" They all have budgets to maintain. They all see daily play leveling off already. Something that has only happened in the last year. All other previous years were growth years. That leveling off was a sign that poker may have reached maximum density.
From an industry standpoint I will tell you that those execs in AC should be jumping up and down with glee. Am I crazy? Actually I'm quite the friggin' genius. Let's look at Vegas. Vegas is in a bad spot. It's in the middle of the desert, and for most that want to play, they gotta go and spend a few days. Vegas has done a fantastic job building mecca's for debauchery and the good ole American worker, the college kids, and single 30 somethings feel as if they have reached a milestone by getting there and telling their stories of survival as if the have experienced a right of passage. The Vegas marketing machine, writers, and even Hollywood have helped with that.
AC is smack dab in the middle of the most populated section of the country. Hundreds of millions of players are within a 2 hour ride to the place. AC doesn't need what Vegas has. They already provide daily access. Something Vegas does not.
With the advent of new poker rooms being open closer to where those players that may have frequented AC will be, it's easy to recognize that those players no longer have a need to travel to AC. The properties know that. But let's not forget that most of these properties that will be opening in PA, DE, and MD will be owned by those same properties in AC. Foxwoods might be looking at the same issue. Probably why they are opening one smack dab in the middle of center city Philadelphia.
But this eludes my point. I'm not talking about individual properties here being able to lessen the losses. Atlantic City itself is going to have to take ownership. They will have to show some type of commitment to the properties in terms of adding infrastructure, commerce, and development in order to sustain viability in attracting and retaining consumers.
I will reiterate again that these new properties offering table games will grow a consumer base more than any before. Those is the areas where those properties exist that have never played before will certainly take their shots now. Believe me when I tell you there are a contingent of consumers that refuse to travel any distance to play live poker. Not to mention those that don't take it seriously enough because the ride was the very obstacle to even try. With properties being so close, those barriers go away and you will see more and more players attracted to the live tables.
I'm not saying that those who go to AC will stay in AC and the properties in the new states will survive on new players alone. However, in my next post, I will take a step outside the box and look at the possibility of what new properties will do for the poker industry itself. How it will grow playership, and what each property will need to do in order to maximize their market share. Including a plan for AC which will hopefully show you how they will continue to thrive for years to come, without having to give away the farm.