JUNE 15, 2005
By Judy DeHaven
Howard Lefkowitz is president of VEGAS.com, which touts itself as "the official Vegas travel site."
A recent poll by Richard Stockton College, conducted by Zogby International, showed New Jerseyans prefer Las Vegas to Atlantic City by a margin of more than two to one. What does Vegas have on A.C.?
Part of the differentiation is somewhat serendipitous, and it's also cultural, in that Vegas has been fable and story and song. It had quite an interesting, romantic, dangerous birth through no fault of its own, and it segued into the days of the Rat Pack and part of the cultural icons of America at the time.
Through that process, I believe Vegas has become the aspirational product for gaming and adult entertainment on a global basis. It's not merely Atlantic City that faces these issues.
The same poll shows Atlantic City is New Jersey's leading entertainment destination. What does this say about the state of tourism in New Jersey?
I love your state. I come to Jersey quite regularly. I don't think it's a sad state of affairs at all. I think it's all about proportion.
What does A.C. need to do to become more like Vegas? Or should A.C. become more like Vegas?
That's an interesting question. I'm not sure if the goal should be to be the same or if the goal should be to be different.
Of course, (Atlantic City is) going to want to use best practices. But if you look at other industries, to be the best, what does that mean? ... I think it is tough to compete, given the scale and the history that is the brand that is Vegas.
Is it cheaper for New Jerseyans to hop on a plane to Nevada than it is to get in their car and drive to A.C.?
It depends on what your exit is.