When is no news really good news?

One news phenomenon always confuses me; there is no news on holidays. Why is that?  Of course, there events that are undeniable and unavoidable, such as earthquakes, bombs and deaths of well-known people – those get reported by the media.  But for the most part, especially locally, there is no news at all. The regular reporters must always be off on those days; in their absence, as if by magic nothing, happens.  The hard-news stories that pulsate during the week demanding constant attention, updates and endless analysis, just dry up on Sundays and holidays.  Instead, the media fills the empty space with fluff, soft-news, background and color stories.  Those holiday stories do not contain any updated news, they just fill in the blanks of the shorter, harder, during-the-week, regular news stories.  At their best, they provide the background information and color for ongoing stories that help make those stories more understandable.  

Memorial Day Weekend was one of those non-news times for the gaming industry; there were simply no real news stories for three days.  The closest thing I found was a story about Revel in Atlantic City catering to dog owners and another about people coming back to the beach for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit; Las Vegas had a comparable story on a Wet n’ Wild park opening.  Wow, talk about exciting. 

Dogs are ‘ruffing it’ at Revel ;Suzanne and Eddie Obal, the owners of two Jack Russell terriers named Amber and Joey, began ticking off some of the places their dogs have accompanied them to over the years…Amber and Joey’s latest stop is Atlantic City, at the $2.4 billion Revel megaresort.  Tails wagging and lapping up the attention showered on them by Revel’s customers, the dogs strutted into the hotel lobby Saturday and made themselves at home.  Just in time for the big Memorial Day holiday weekend, the casino has thrown out the doggie welcome mat as part of its new “Ruff It at Revel” program. Revel’s evolving marketing strategy is targeting customers who also want to bring along their four-legged companions. Donald Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City, 5-26-13

The rest of industry coverage was those articles that offer the color and background for ongoing stories; the Las Vegas Review-Journal had: The 10-year Anniversary of Moneymaker Effect, written by Todd Dewey; it set the stage for the upcoming World Series of Poker.  The Press of Atlantic City had: Independent Restaurants Rapidly Growing written by Hoa Nguyen, which gave us some insight into the changing economics on the Boardwalk.  However, there was one article that was in the best of show category; and it made up for the general lack of news on gaming.  Suzette Parmley of the Philadelphia Inquirer did a piece on Atlantic City; she posed the question we are all asking: Is There a Cure for Ailing Atlantic City Casinos?

The article might not give a definitive answer to the question the headline posed, but it does contain a lot of information on the status of the casino industry in Atlantic City.  In fact, if you have not kept up to date on all of Atlantic City’s issues, struggles and changes of late, Suzette’s article will get you up to speed.  She did a great job, not only on the backdrop to the current situation, but also in talking to customers, analysts and operators and getting some thoughts on the future possibilities for the boardwalk city.  The article would have been interesting and a worthwhile read any day, but on a holiday weekend it was pure joy.

 Can this casino resort be saved?  This Memorial Day weekend, it’s easy to see all is not well here. Eight of the 12 casinos predate the mid-1980s – carpets are grungy, paint is chipping off the walls, and far fewer employees are working the gaming floors. As the sun broke through after a blustery Friday and Saturday, the Sunday crowds picked up on the Boardwalk. By mid-afternoon, it teemed with strollers and patrons at the outdoor restaurants.  But parking was available at several casino garages, a telltale sign this was not the hoped-for blockbuster weekend. Business volume varied among properties. Suzette Parmley, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-27-13; Philadelphia Inquirer

Still, it was holiday, a day to rest, a day to remember, celebrate and honor our dead; maybe, instead of searching vainly for news about casinos, I should have spent more time on the barbeque, watching the Indianapolis 500 and visiting friends and family.  There will be news enough during any week to keep us all informed, entertained and even al little anxious; a day without an endless stream of news might not be a bad thing after all.



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