I like Atlantic City. I stopped going because of the drive (6 hours from my CT home) and because it was getting so sad to see the downward trend from the 2007 recession. It started in 2006 when the Sands was closed & raised. I liked the Sands, a smokey old casino with that long entrance from the Boardwalk. Alas, it was only a precursor of the downward spiral taking place in the next 10 years.
Now, in 2018, I’m am encouraged. While AC’s emergence will take time, the future looks promising and may not bode well for Connecticut’s casinos.
Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun continue to bring loyal fans from New York & New Jersey to their properties. The only competition at the same level is Borgata. But excitement & hope are on the horizon for the Jersey Shore.
A Look Back
Let’s visit the past five year casino timeline in Atlantic City, courtesy of ACPrimeTime.
- February 7, 2012: Claridge casino closed (bought by CET, hotel only)
- April 2, 2012: Revel opens
- Feb 24, 2014: TJM Properties buys Claridge from Caesars, creates non-gaming hotel
- Jan 13, 2014: Atlantic Club closes (still closed, vacant)
- Aug 31, 2014: Showboat closes (reopened as low quality hotel only)
- September 2, 2014: Revel closes
- September 16, 2014: Trump Plaza closes (still empty)
News in the past year or so has been very encouraging. In the Marina, MGM purchased the rest of Boyd Gaming’s half of Borgata. The sole owner of the best and most profitable casino in AC now provides for a distinctive connection to Nevada, as well as MGM’s blooming East Coast portfolio with National Harbor in D.C., and MGM Springfield to be the second completed Massachusetts casino.
Marina news doesn’t stop there. Harrah’s AC has continued to expand for the convention market, and Landry’s purchase of the Trump Marina property has made the now Golden Nugget an improved player.
But the Boardwalk? How is it doing?
NETG predicts huge strides will be made on the Boardwalk. While Atlantic Club, Trump Plaza and Showboat casinos remain closed and empty (Showboat reopened as low quality hotel only last year), recent news and progress has produced an enthusiasm Atlantic City hasn’t felt in years.
The Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City is a luxury hotel, casino, and spa resort that has raised the bar with night clubs and the Quarter – the largest non gaming expansion in the history of Atlantic City, featuring world-class dining options, an array of red-hot entertainment and nightlife venues, chic retail establishments, and a luxuriant spa facility.
CET (Caesars Entertainment) has renovated Bally’s casino, and has turned Wild West into a millennial hangout successfully with the philosophy of “five-dollar table games and “low-priced, fun” drinks. Still, CET has a way to go to attempt competing for revenue with Borgata. But with my new Diamond Card status for CET casinos (Thank You Michael Trager & TravelZork!) I was able to enjoy some of the higher level of Caesar’s amenities, and I have to say it was great.
Resorts, now run by Mohegan Sun Gaming, has almost renovated all of its run-down hotel rooms, as well as the casino area with new additional food options. Just a reminder – if you have a Mohegan Sun Momentum Card, you are able to use Momentum points for dining, etc at Resorts AC.
As they say in those infomercials, “Wait, there’s More!”
The biggest news of 2017 was Hard Rock’s purchase of the Taj Mahal. From renovation to completion, it is expected that the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will create over 3,000 jobs for Atlantic City and provide an ongoing and significant impact to the local and regional economies as well as the revitalization of Atlantic City. It is planning to open this summer (2018).
The biggest news of 2018 already has been the purchase of Revel. The property will be re-branded as the Ocean Resort Casino by its new owners. Together, Hard Rock & Revel could give Borgata literally a run for their money.
Connecticut Casinos Need to Push Forward
Concerning AC’s rise in relevance, no other casino properties in New England have more to lose the the Pequots at Foxwoods and the Mohegans. No one depends on New York And New Jersey’s mid-to-high rollers as much as Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Continued diversification is required by both. Mohegan Sun’s projects at this time include the Mohegan Sun Exposition Center, bringing Mohegan Sun’s offerings to over 275,000 square feet of meeting space – the largest expo space along the New York-Boston I-95 corridor and more expansion highlighted in our post “Mohegan Sun Continues History of Expansion With New CEO.”
Foxwoods addition of the only covered Tanger Outlets in the country has been very successful. It has also gone a different path to attract guests – thrill rides. With two thrill rides in place, a zip line and a race track are in order for 2018.
While New England’s large casino/resorts begin to battle it out – Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, MGM Springfield, Wynn Boston Harbor, and yes, even Twin River Casino/Resort with its new hotel – Atlantic city might just have a presence in their rear-view mirror.