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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.
entire article at:
2004 Online Casino News Archive