Atlantic City hopes New Margaritaville can inspire Turnaround

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As Atlantic City looks for a way to stop sagging revenue and tourism, the brand new Margaritaville might just be part of the solution. The $35 million Margaritaville opened to much publicity over the weekend at Resorts Casino Hotel.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to usher in the complex of restaurants, bars and a casino floor. He was joined by a number of other prominent businessmen and celebrities from the Atlantic City area. Singer Jimmy Buffet, whom Margaritaville is inspired by, was out of the country and didn’t make the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Margaritaville spans 14,000 square-feet and includes the Margaritaville restaurant, LandShark Bar & Grill, Five O’clock Somewhere bar, store, coffee shop, and a Margaritaville-themed casino, which features a giant blender. Much like Buffet’s island-themed music, this complex was built to inspire a laid-back, beach-life feel. Or, as the business itself states, Margaritaville transports “guests to the island destination of their memories or dreams.”

Matthew Levinson, who’s the chairman of New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission,’ believes that this new venue will provide an entirely new dimension to Atlantic City. “The key to bringing this town back is to have amenities like this, is to have people come to town, to have the offering of gaming and also being able to do some other things,” Levinson said. “If you look at Margaritaville, it’s going to be a draw for somebody that’s never come to Atlantic City before. And that’s what you need.”

AC could definitely use a financial boost from Margaritvaville because the once-proud gaming destination has seen its revenue fall greatly. The city’s 12 casinos saw a 63% drop in the first quarter, when compared to last year’s first quarter. Resorts Casino Hotel has especially done badly after losing $6 million, and earning 78% less revenue than in last year’s Q1.

The hope is that legalized online gambling can instigate a turnaround in AC. However, no casinos have a fully-operational gaming site up yet, so the current hopes lie with Margaritaville for now.

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