Poker News

Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Hotel has announced that it is closing its poker room next month. Poker rooms have never been the money makers that the rest of the casino games are and it appears that it just wasn’t worth it anymore for the Revel to keep the poker games going.

The casino released a statement about the decision (credit to John Brennan and his Meadowlands Matters blog for posting it):

After careful consideration and in an effort to further improve the overall operating performance of Revel Casino Hotel, management has made the decision to close our poker room operations effective August, 2013.

Offering poker as an amenity on the property will be considered in the future as a component of an overall strategy related to our online opportunities. We have a very talented team of professionals who work in poker operations and we are actively working to place as many as we can in other areas.

The Revel Casino Hotel has been in an unenviable situation, struggling mightily in a city that has struggled mightily of late. Just last month, the casino came out of bankruptcy protection and began to make changes to try to turn things around. It launched a creative promotion this month in which anyone who loses more than $100 at the slot machines will have those losses refunded by the casino.

It’s not quite as simple as simply getting the money back, though. After all, Revel wants people to come back and play. Thus, the refund will be credited back to a player’s Revel Card, the casino’s player card, in equal installments over 20 weeks. Players must visit the casino to receive each week’s bonus. “If you win, that’s great,” Revel CEO Jeff Hartmann told CBS Philly. “But if you lose, we’ll give you a second chance.  Just like we’re asking our customers to give us a second chance.”

Revel is also refocusing on the average local and regional gambler, rather than trying to create some elaborate, luxurious experience to try to draw high rollers from around the world. That’s not to say that the casino isn’t concerned with its amenities – it is considered a very nice casino – it’s just that it is now looking to provide locals a great experience and a lower price for the day or two they are there in hopes that the next time they drive into Atlantic City, they’ll stop at Revel.

To that point, Revel has also made the interesting move of bringing smoking back to the casino, something that it had once prohibited.

“We’ve had a few missteps over the last 12 months,” said Hartmann.  “This is Revel 2.0.  We want you to be wowed by us.  We think if we get a second chance, you’ll want to play at Revel all the time.”

The elimination of the poker room does not mean that Revel won’t get into the online poker game. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) gave Atlantic City casinos until June 29th to partner with online gaming operators or risk not having their interactive gaming applications delayed. The DGE reported that all twelve casinos did ink deals with online gaming companies, but Revel’s partnership has not been made public.

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