ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – Travis Lunn takes control of Atlantic City’s most successful casino as two new competitors enter the market. But far from being worried, he is delighted with the success of Hard Rock and the Ocean Casino Resort. This, he said, presents an opportunity for the Borgata to up their own game and ensure they continue to be the market leader.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press nearly two months after becoming president of Borgata, Lunn praised the investment and energy of his competitors.
“I think it’s a healthy thing for us, for the great city of Atlantic City,” Lunn said. “A rising tide carries all ships; I believe in that. This destination might require some reinvestment, and so to see Hard Rock come in and reinvest, and Ocean reinvest in their product, is something I would take advantage of.
“I look at Borgata and say, ‘What do we need to do to stay relevant and competitive? “”, Did he declare.
He already has answers: renovated hotel rooms; new slot machines; more table game tournaments, some linked to sports betting events; attract new customers; and encourage guests of other MGM Resorts International casinos to visit Borgata.
It’s been 10 years since the Borgata has redone its hotel rooms.
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“For me, that’s a clear priority,” Lunn said. “As a market leader, we need to be best in class in our bedroom product. Right now we have quality, but are we relevant? Do we have the latest amenities in our bedrooms? It’s on my short list to tackle.”
Lunn, 48, most recently served as Group Southeast President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts, where he ran Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. .
He succeeds former Borgata president Melonie Johnson, who returned to MGM’s National Harbor casino as president and chief operating officer, a position she held before joining Borgata in 2020.
Borgata earned more than $1.1 billion from gamers last year, double the amount of its nearest competitor, Hard Rock. It’s topped the Atlantic City market since shortly after it opened in 2003. But Hard Rock comes much closer in terms of in-person earnings, coming within $175 million of Borgata’s in-person total. Last year.
Time and again, Lunn returns to the word “relevant”, also applying it to the casino’s slot floor, where 300 to 400 new slot machines will replace some older models.
“I already have $10 million that I plan to spend on the slot floor to update the product we have,” he said. “Our guests come for a certain gaming experience, and we currently don’t offer some of the products offered by our competitors.”
Borgata recently hosted a blackjack tournament which Lunn says was well received, and he hopes to offer more in the future, as he said people yearn to reconnect with more social activities and forms of game during the third summer of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lunn also plans to explore ways to better connect with University of Stockton students and educate and train them for careers in the casino or hospitality industries.
He sees being part of a major national gaming company as an advantage in the competitive Atlantic City market.
“We have capital available to reinvest in our product,” he said. “Part of what I see in my job is going to fight for those dollars.”