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Most Recent Online Casino News

Casino Goes for Rat Pack Renaissance

There’s a familiarity to the Sands Casino Hotel that brings back Marie Morlachetta year after year.

"It feels like home," said Morlachetta, 70, of Gibbstown, Gloucester County, as she played three-card poker Saturday.

Morlachetta, who listens to Frank Sinatra while cooking and driving, was at the Sands’ opening night on Aug. 13, 1980, and has been back many times since. "Everybody’s friendly."

But new competition and last year’s nearly 40 percent drop in gross operating profit are forcing the small, independent casino to reinvent itself while retaining its Rat Pack heritage.

The Sands "lacks access to the Boardwalk and the general size and economies of scale you need to compete effectively in a new era," said Michael J. Pollock, publisher of Gaming Industry Observer.

Although the Atlantic City casino industry’s revenue increased 3 percent last year to nearly $4.5 billion – a record – the Sands suffered huge losses despite a strategy to boost profits by increasing slot machines and phasing out table games.

Net revenue dropped $193 million to $170 million. Gross operating profit slid from more than $21.1 million to about $12.8 million.

"It was definitely a challenge for us in 2003," said William T. Cooney, senior vice president of customer development. Cooney, who had left in 2002, was rehired in February 2003 to regain some of the table-game customers the Sands lost. "We’re hoping this is a turnaround year for us."

Nostalgia and personal service are the casino’s trademarks. The Sands is seeking to take advantage of the legendary 1960s Rat Pack of the former Sands in Las Vegas – a gang that included Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

One of Sinatra’s last performances was at the Copa Room, the Sands’ showroom theater in Atlantic City, in 1994.

Read the entire article at: Philadelphia Inquirer 

2004 Online Casino News Archive


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