Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What AC Needs

So Pauly put up a link to this NY Times article about the "death spiral" of Atlantic City.

How appropriate.

It's a piece that touches on some of the problem areas of the city by the sea, but offers little in solutions or depth. What it does give the impression of, however, is that the decision-makers in town have absolutely no idea how to fix anything.

My suggestion? An enema.

Think big? Think HUGE. AC needs to be flushed out. Entire neighbourhoods, within a block of the boardwalk, need to be razed and rebuilt. The confusing and terrible road system in there needs to be redesigned. The garbage that is visible at every turn needs to be cleaned up.

In short - someone actually has to give a shit about the place.

And maybe, in that rectal torrent, they'll get the casino owner's heads out of their asses. My visit in August, a weekend where the biggest thing going on was the Atlantic City food festival with some celebrity chefs, floored me with the cost. Your boardwalk hotels - and there's not ONE that rises above a mid-level strip hotel in Vegas - were asking more per night than I've paid for twice the quality in the desert. Freebies? Ha. You can't even park for free. And the receipt-swap trick (pay for parking at one hotel, it's good for parking at another) isn't advertised anywhere.

And it's not like these are rookie operators. Harrah's doesn't know how to do the little things to keep people happy? I just lost $1000 in your casino, and now I'm being dinged $10 for parking? Fuck that.

The casino floors are so ultra-80's-cheesy that it hurts to walk through some of them. The smell of desperation saturates the air as you pass seniors pulling their pensions away.

There's a simple reason the Borgata is suffering less than the rest of the city - they have a fucking clue. They do it right. You walk onto the floor and feel like money. You want to wander around, see what the place has to offer, and eventually find a chair and offer up some lucre at the altar of the gambling gods.

The rest? They feel like the casinos your grandmother warned you about. Unsafe, dirty, and untrustworthy.

Burn it to the ground, collect the insurance, and build something people will want to visit. Not something where they want to find a clean shower to wash off the filth and despair they've absorbed during their brief stay.

Yet still, I keep eying the cheap flights from YYZ to ACY...


Katitude said...

I seem to recall seeing a WestJet seat sale ad on TV last week, AC for $69. Of course, that'll be one way, sans taxes and fees.

Astin said...

Yah, that's been going on since the flight started (it's seasonal). Works out to around $260 return with taxes and all. $113 in fees if I recall.

BWoP said...

Is it a "Field of Dreams" thing? Because even if somebody invested the money to make things better, who is gonna go there?

(Other than a bunch of poker degens we know . . .)

Astin said...

I think it is. It's a 5 1/2 hour flight to Vegas for me, and there's a 3 hour time difference. Flights are rarely below $400 round trip, but hotel deals can always be found. And I go at least once a year because I love spending 3-4 days there - going from casino to casino, seeing friends, playing in different rooms, or just wandering around absorbing the sensory overload.

But AC is maybe a 2 hour flight, in my time zone, and can be done for under $300 round trip easily. But their hotels (until recently) are ridiculously marked up and only a marginal step up from the motels outside of town. The casinos think they're Vegas, so there's no financial incentive to go either.

But if there were more like the Borg there, I'd be inclined to visit because at least I'd be getting what I paid for, and the convenience factor could make it worthwhile.

The other option is they realize they're a bargain basement Vegas and lower their table limits and prices accordingly instead of pretending their faded glory attracts anything but degenerates. At least then there's value. There should ALWAYS be $5 tables available in AC. I can find 'em on The Strip, but not on the Boardwalk?

edivad said...

Hey Astin, Fellow Torontoian Poker player here.

Travelzoo through west jet has cheap ass flights! Long live the Borgata!!!!

$8 & up -- WestJet Slashes Fares, Book by Nov. 6 http://ca.travelzoo.com/top20/5118538-684033/
Source: WestJet