The $2.4 billion Revel Casino that was going to save Atlantic City (has any city been saved as much as AC?) will close on September 1. The real problem was poor focus on what they call in business “core competency.” Core competency means doing the thing you do best–and cutting back on the other stuff. For example years ago IBM found itself in a personal computer business that it had outgrown. PCs were no longer part of IBM’s core competency–it had evolved into more of a logistics, data, cloud and consulting business. So IBM sold the PC business to Lenovo in China and focused on what it did best. Now it’s doing the same thing with it’s low end server business, which is also no longer part of its core competency.
And what is a casino’s core competency? Gambling. Not concerts, not amusements, not steaks, not martinis, not even sexy cocktail staff and chic leather sofas. Nope, gambling. The kind of gambling that heavy hitters (called “whales” in casino parlance) do in Las Vegas and Macau. Not enough of that took place at Revel, which was said to lose over a million bucks a week. In casino gambling, the odds are famously, invariably with the house. What needs to happen to make a profit is that people need to play. Every moment spent in a beautiful new pool or a space-age liquor lounge is a moment not spent rolling the dice. Swimming and sunbathing, btw? Also not part of a casino’s core competency. That’s why when Revel tried to sell itself nobody wanted it. Buyers look for business with a center. Revel, in the end, was all accoutrements.