Revel CEO Tempers Expectations for $2.4 Billion Property

March 27, 2012
Kevin DeSanctis, Chairman and CEO of Revel Entertainment, says it will take a few years before they see a profit.

By Lauren Wanko

Atlantic City’s newest resort, Revel, is the talk of the town. It is considered, by many, to be one of the key factors expected to jump-start the gaming town’s revitalization.

Kevin DeSanctis is Chairman and CEO of Revel Entertainment. “I think for folks who get a little too enthusiastic, they could have some expectations that are not met. But I don’t think that should be our goal,” says DeSanctis.

He says, similar to other properties in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, it will take a few years before they see a profit. “I see it as a three-year ramp and our expectations are in alignment with that. We’re not built to achieve everything we want to achieve in year one. This is not a short-term strategy.”

The $2.4 billion project offers a host of amenities, but they come at a cost. Mid-week room rates start at under $300 a night. In a resort city where some hotel rooms are available for as low as $19 a night in the low-season, you won’t see those prices at Revel. “We cannot become a value-oriented property, and what I mean by that is a price conscience property, we spent $2.4 billion, if we start discounting in the same manner as some have decided to go. We will not be successful.”

And the push to expand the gaming industry to North Jersey has only amplified. But DeSanctis argues a pragmatic approach is key in deciding whether the industry should move up the Parkway. “We have an industry that has invested a lot of money in Atlantic City and one has to be cautious that if you do expand into the North, you don’t do something that basically destroys one industry to create another because the net effect will be zero.”

And the competition that looms next door poses another threat. Casinos in Pennsylvania and New York are gaining an edge over the Garden State. But DeSanctis is not deterred by this summer’s high gas price. “A lot of folks used to go away on vacations. They would get on an airplane and jet off somewhere to a more distant location. We’re offering a regional getaway. We’re not for everybody, but when you have 47 million adults within a six-hour drive, we believe if we just get a small fraction of those folks we should do fine.”