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Atlantic City Casino Reaches Out to Local Market

15 October 2002

ATLANTIC CITY – As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer: "For once in her life, local native Jennifer Cibotti felt she was being treated like the toast of the town in a place that has almost exclusively catered to out-of-towners.

"`This is nice, really nice,' said Cibotti, of nearby Northfield, sitting in the middle of the Tropicana Casino Resort's newest lounge, an opulently furnished room offering a respite from the din of slot machines and gaming tables.

"What makes the lounge special is that it's for locals only.

"…Under subdued lighting, at sumptuously appointed banquet tables, locals are treated to complimentary beverages and light meals. As members of the Diamond Club - the Tropicana's frequent-gambler program - they are also invited to locals-only promotions and events.

"…Cibotti is a prime example of a new target market for the Tropicana: locals who are a bit younger than the bus-in/bus-out, slot-machine crowd, said Dennis Gomes, president of Tropicana's resort division in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

"…About 350,000 people live in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. The casino said it might expand its locals-only program into Cumberland County and southern Ocean County. Other casinos are not saying whether they will create similar promotions.

"Gomes' other clue about catering to people who live near casinos came from his housekeeper, a local who visits Atlantic City casinos regularly.

"…`She told me that as a local she felt that if you were from out of town, you could get a lot more in the way of comps from casinos, but that if you are a local, nobody pays attention to you,' Gomes said. `We decided it was high time we paid attention to these locals, and, at the same time, get the word out there is a lot to do in Atlantic City for people of all ages, besides gamble.'

"Nonetheless, gambling still is the goal. To get into the locals-only lounge, a player's gaming wagers over time must reach a certain threshold, although not as high as the one required for the traditional high-roller lounges. Also, casino `ambassadors' roam the casino floor looking for patrons whose player cards have a local VIP sticker on them to offer additional bonuses, such as special show tickets…."

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