Looking to Draw Conventions to Atlantic City, Harrah’s Touts New Conference Center Project
According to a new report by the Press of Atlantic City, currently the city of Atlantic City is capturing only a measly one percent of the roughly $16 billion convention industry in the Northeast.
Alas, all of that is set to change if Harrah’s proves to be correct in its assessment that “build it and they will come.”
The company has broken ground on a new 250,000 square foot convention center that it believes will change the entire convention market in the region, while drawing traffic and revenue to the struggling city in the process.
Facility will open sometime in 2015
Though it won’t be ready to open for nearly two more years, the company is already touting what it promises will be “the largest conference facility from Baltimore to Boston.”
In addition to space for conventions, the property will feature ballrooms and areas specifically earmarked as meeting space.
Talking about the massive East coast convention business that Atlantic City is currently missing out on, Rich Mazer, who is both a regional vice president and general manager for Harrah’s, said, “It’s phenomenal how much there is of that. There is the national business, but also the regional market as well. It could all have to do with what has been missing here.”
City hopes to benefit from influx of new visitors
The company has the support of the state in its bid to draw convention-goers and their pocketbooks to Atlantic City; the Press reports that the project is being given special tax consideration.
Harrah’s spokeswoman Katie Dougherty pointed out that with the coming of large conventions, the citywide economy stands to benefit by an increased demand for dining, retail, and other ancillary services.
“It’s not just the conventioneers, but also the spouses and significant others who will take advantage of Atlantic City’s shopping, spas, restaurants or whatever,” Dougherty said.
New Jersey engaged in multi-pronged effort to revive flagging gambling economy
Of course, Atlantic City’s efforts to remake itself – and to right its foundering financial ship in the process – has been one of the biggest stories of 2013. New Jersey has seen its gambling industry in free fall since 2006, when income peaked for the casino economy there. Since then, Atlantic City revenue has declined each year for six years running.
One of the key components of the future vision for Atlantic City is, of course, the new law regulating Internet wagering in New Jersey, which will allow residents and visitors to access real-money online gambling web sites so long as they are physically located within the Garden State when logging on.
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement released the final draft of its industry regulations, in the process confirming that the state is prepared to see the market launch on November 26th. The industry is expected to bring tens of millions of dollars in new revenue to the state, with industry experts predicting that real-money online poker and other forms of casino gambling online will attract younger, more tech-savvy gamblers to New Jersey’s famed seaside gaming town.
Whether the market will live up to the hopes of operators and state officials remains to be seen, however one thing is for certain – the launch of regulated iGaming in New Jersey will be closely watched by folks in the Garden State and in other states alike, as its commencement has been highly anticipated all year long.
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