Advice is easy to give and cheap; changing is neither cheap nor easy

Resorts Atlantic City, Monday August 23, 2010.

Nothing positive has happened in a long time in Atlantic City, so when Dennis Gomes bought Resorts the local press was all over the story.  Every day there are several side bars to the main story covering different aspects of the story with comments and recommendations from anyone willing to offer them.  Everyone with a vested interested in the city is hoping for a miracle.  Dennis Gomes is doing a bit more, he is taking a risk.

Most of the people who have weighted in on the situation in Atlantic City have had lots of good ideas and that includes the governor and other politicians arguing about the “right” way to help the casino industry in AC;  other with ideas and advice include: analysts on Wall Street, former Atlantic City operators and managers and many others with nothing bet on the pass-line; they all have ideas and plans guaranteed to be the trick that would turn things around and bring back the 1980s when Atlantic City was the gambling capital of the eastern United States.  One such is Steve Norton, who managed Resorts 30 years ago and now is a gaming consultant, (which usually is a euphemism for being unemployed).  Norton  joined the chorus today – he has all of the answers, but he cautions Gomes that the first order of business is to bring the property to profitability.  Wow! Brilliant, can you imagine the startled look on Gomes’ face when he heard it; “Why, did I think of that?’ he probably said, slapping himself upside the head. Norton’s other brilliant idea? Make Resorts a convention hotel – such insight no wonder he is a consultant and not a top CEO.

While I think Norton’s advice is about as simplistic as possible, the governor’s idea that a few policeman and a cleaning crew are keys to a turn around is no better.  Worse are the ones that say “reinvent yourself” “find an under-served niche” or “broaden your marketing” that kind of advice useless, empty abstractions and nothing more.

Gomes probably needs help raising some money, but unless one is willing put to their money on the line and risk failure, Gomes probably doesn’t need what is being offered. I may have made fun of him a little and certainly I haven’t given him much of a chance of succeeding, but I do admire his courage and willingness to, as the saying goes, “put his money where is mouth is.”


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August 2010
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