Place your bets. The surest sign of Atlantic City’s long-predicted and yearned for boom is the June 28 double opening of two casinos on the same day, right down the beach from one another, and some one million people are expected to arrive in AC for the weekend to gamble, party and dance, according to local officials.
The Ocean Resort and Hard Rock casino-hotels will both be opening at 12 p.m. on June 28, the first new casinos to open in Atlantic City since 2012, both betting on getting a slice of the gaming market that’s been on the rebound in recent years and is now spiking thanks to newly legalized sports betting.
Both are planning major weekend-long parties and concerts to celebrate their arrivals on the scene.
Ocean Resort and Hard Rock will also both be opening up shop inside two former casinos: Ocean Resort inside the former Revel, and Hard Rock inside the former Trump Taj Mahal. Both casinos were victims to the general slowdown in economic activity in AC. Revel closed in 2014. Trump’s casino, which he opened in 1980 and had sold to Carl Icahn, was closed in 2016 as its workers went on strike. The two new casinos represent some 6,000 new jobs in Atlantic City.
One big difference is that Hard Rock will not have newly-legalized sports betting available on-site on Thursday. Ocean Resorts planned 7,500-square-foot sportsbook will not be open yet on Thursday, but they have made arrangements to set up a temporary operation where people can place their bets.
In addition to the double-opening, a beach concert by Sam Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, the first of the summer, which will also attract a considerable crowd. Law enforcement officials told the Atlantic City Press they’re expecting 700,000 to one million visitors over the weekend.
Although the party starts on a Thursday, Atlantic City is sure to be hopping all weekend long, and with July 4 coming up the following week, the party could last all week long, if not all summer.
Here’s a look at how the new casinos stack up.
The Ocean Resort opens inside the former Revel, originally built for $2.4 billion and closed after just two years, with aims of repurposing.
-131,000 square feet of gaming space
-100 table games
-1,399 hotel rooms
-70,000 square feet of retail
-a 32,000-square-foot spa, Exhale.
-$200 million purchase price, with $175 million in renovations
-During opening weekend, look out for DJ sets by Diplo, Kaskade, Jermaine Dupri, the Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano team, and later on down the line, DJ Shaquille O’Neal.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
The American music history-oriented Hard Rock will open with a gala red-carpet celebration on Thursday, including a ceremonial smashing of a guitar.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will boast:
-167,000 square feet of gaming space
–2,100 slot machines
– 120 gaming tables
– 20 restaurants
– a 400-seat Hard Rock Cafe
– 50 individually curated ‘music zones’
– a museum’s worth of music memorabilia, including Elvis Presley’s gold Rolls Royce and Michael Jackson’s white glove.
–Scores Gentleman’s Club (while Hard Rock tried to kick out the club, a leasee at Trump Taj Mahal for decades, to bolster their family-friendly image, the suit was settled and Scores is staying).
–$500 million of renovations to Trump Taj Mahal
-Look for performances by Carrie Underwood on June 29 and Pitbull on June 30 to celebrate opening weekend, plus performances by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Jerry Blavat.
Additional reporting by A.D. Amorosi