Trio Report – St. Paddy’s at Borgata

You might have noticed this past week’s NETimeGaming posts were fewer than usual, especially the weekend. There was a good reason – we were in Atlantic City! Here is our Trip Report.

Fly Borgata

Fly Borgata has changed the way we enjoy Atlantic City.  Instead of a 6 hour drive from CT, it’s a 35-45 minute flight.  We love flying in a small junket from different places in New England on Fly Borgata. We have flown from Bedford, MA., Providence, RI., and Hartford, CT. – all great times. It usually consists of flying Fridays, and returning Sundays, with two night free and $50 free slot play for qualifying players. If you are a qualified MLife member at Borgata, Check it out at Fly Borgata.

Hotels

The Borgata complex.

Our NETG trio stayed in both the original hotel and the WaterClub hotel. Both are excellent, with WaterClub a little further off the beaten path – quieter, own pool and spa. Walking down the short hallway to the casino, with high end retail shops, feels like an another MGM property – Aria. Great amenities, great stay.

Casino & Gaming

We had varied success. Miguel did not have his usual “Bu-fah-looo” success. We noticed lots of new slots, including Fort Knox Cleopatra, Bonus Bonanza, and new slots from Everi, IT, IGT. Borgata still offers plenty of full pay JOB video poker, even at the quarter denomination. Binbin was the big winner with two big VP hits with an Aces quad w/ kicker and quad 3’s w/ kicker at $1 denom- sweet!

St Paddy’s Day

The real reason for our venture south was to celebrate Miguel’s favorite holiday – St. Patrick’s Day. Amphora Lounge had scrumptious Irish options, as well as there usual fine culinary fare. Amphora continues to be one if the top VIP lounges in AC.

One of our highlights was the Gypsy Bar Bash upstairs, with great bands, outstanding eats, and of course, plenty of Guinness stout. Numerous entertainers walked around the those of us in attendance. It was a party atmosphere with lots of space. Add to that theregalia and music from the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a professional bagpipe corps, and you have one of the most festive Irish Holidays ever. If you visit next year, I highly recommend it.

Dining

The Bread and Butter is one of the best casual dining in AC. Breakfast sandwiches are delicious a less expensive choice than the buffet. Bert recommends the chicken salad sandwich for lunch, includes lots of chicken on their outstanding walnut raisin bread. And while the brunch at the buffet is expensive, it’s very good. Two omelet stations, and intriguing foods such as candied bacon and strawberry eclairs. Miguel recommends Chop & Toss salads downstairs under the poker room at The Marketplace. Huge, fresh salads like their Thai Chicken salad are faves, as well as the option to make your own with whatever protein combo you’d prefer. And not one, but two great ice cream/gelato options – Ben and Jerry’s, and housemade delectables from the Borgata’s award-winning Executive Pastry Chef (and former Executive Pastry Chef for the White House), Thaddeus DuBois, including gelato, sorbet and ice cream.

Conclusion

Fly Borgata is great.  There is a reason why Borgata is always crowded and full of excitement and great gambling – it’s the best in AC.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Binbin

CT Casinos Should Take Note of Atlantic City’s Future

The Atlantic City shore.

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.

A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

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

Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun Hotel

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.”

Grand Pequot Tower Casino

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.

Binbin

Special Thanks to Michael Trager and Darryl D. McEwen at TravelZork & Craig & Kyle at Due For A Win, the Atlantic City Podcast, for keeping me update on all Atlantic City News.

 

ZorkFest AC Was A Blast!

ZorkFest in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City shore.

It was a wonderful weekend in New Jersey. So informative, with the friendliest group of people I’ve ever met.  Let me share the many great times we enjoyed.

First of all, I was so surprised to hear that so many people knew of NETimeGambling. I had no idea our little website wasn’t as small after all. (It brings a smile to me inside and out.)  The people I met were friendly, accepting and brilliant in the fields of gaming, Casino Rewards, and Travel Reward programs.  Everyone was so respectful, each with a little eccentricity and nerdy interest in these fields, and so many with expert knowledge.  I learned so much that my brain hurt (but in a good way).

Michael Trager and the TravelZork Team.

The man with a vision, Michael Trager

Eric, Coach Kitty, Angeline, Seth, David, Jeff……what a team.  This maiden voyage of ZorkFest was so well run and offered incredible classes, that many of the gambling enthusiasts didn’t even leave to play in the Bally’s AC casino! Michael Trager’s vision of the event paid off. His hospitality, generosity and expertise made it wonderful success. The quality of every session at ZorkFest was unbelievable. For those who weren’t able to attend, or chose not to, the good news is that ZorkFest 2018 is already being planned.

By the way, I won a Diamond Caesar’s Entertainment Players Card!  I was able to check out the Diamond lounge three times. It was a large area full of tables, free food and drinks, small fireplaces, great design with floor to wall windows with a beautiful view of the boardwalk, beach and Atlantic City ocean view.  The bar was almost as long as the “LongBar” at the D in downtown Las Vegas. Thank you TravelZork. Other perks included free valet parking, pass lines, and an immediate appreciation by the Bally’s staff.  Wow, it felt great.

Bally’ Atlantic City

Bally’s AC – it had been over five years since visiting Bally’s, never mind staying over.  The room in the Dennis Hotel was spacious clean, and met all our needs. I would stay there again – comped of course.

Bally’s Casino – the casino seemed completely different from the old boardwalk casino I would play very little in.  It was kinda dumpy, but now has a fresh look, with lots of new machines, a brighter tables area, and a more modern feel. My first attempt to gamble was Friday afternoon at Lobby Bar.  I didn’t stay long, since the pay tables were terrible.  I assumed that Video Poker was bad throughout the property.  Thanks to CoachKitty from the TravelZork Team for leading me to full-pay Jacks or Better.  There was also full-pay bonus poker on a Triple Play progressive (both at the quarter level).  Thanks to vpFree2 for the information on full-pay denominations and locations in the casino.

It All Came Down To The Peeps

I met so many players, podcasters, and professionals interested in certain aspects or areas of the gaming and travel industry that I felt blessed to be there.

Cousin Vito, our MC.

Cousin Vito – our MC fit the bill. The voice and owner of the best new gambling podcast for the recreational gambler, Cousin Vito Casino Podcast, did a great job starting us off.  Bravo!  And having quality time with his sidekick Cousin Mikey and Mrs. Cousin Vito (Amanda) made a true trifecta of fun.

Tony Snyder – from the 360Vegas podcast, was as entertaining as he is on the show.  Although he had a tough battle with a bull in Bally’s Wild Wild West, he still provided a great time.  Thanks for the “cee-gar” Tony.  I brought the rest of it home.  Is there such a thing as bronzing a cigar?

Tony Snyder, of 360Vegas podcast.

Craig was there from Atlantic City’s own podcast “Due For A Win.”  I’m sure he will have coverage of the event on his (and the other host Kyle’s) next podcast.  It was great meeting the guy behind the mic of a great podcast.

Jullian of the new VegasConfessions podcast was visiting the east cast from Vegas. Thanks Jullian for the upcoming documentary of ZorkFest I.  Your video will prove valuable to all of who attended this year when we view it in your suite in Vegas five years from now.

To Phil, Jay, Bryan, Amanda and Luke – great meeting you. I’m glad to have made some new friends.

Eric Rosenthal knows Caesars Total Rewards inside and out.

Eric Rosenthal – you are the most knowledgeable Rewards person I have ever known.  Your sessions were so interesting and thought provoking that it has changed my view of comps at gaming establishments forever.

Finally, Michael Trager – the most fascinating world traveler I ever met.  Your interest and effort in producing an outstanding event such as ZorkFest, to accompany the website TravelZork, Is greatly appreciated. You made a new and exciting event that will double and triple in the coming years.  Thank-you for the idea and the perseverance to make it a tremendous success.

Binbin415 from NETimeGambling.com

Curtain Call – an Explanation for Those Who Had No Clue What This Post Was About

If you read the entire post, and still don’t understand, then you must plan to attend next year. December possibly, and maybe in Las Vegas. ZorkFest features sessions on the combination of two worlds – travel Rewards (hotel, airlines, etc), the gaming industry, and the connections between both.

So, I will just say to all of you who didn’t attend this year

“see you at ZorkFest 2018”

Binbin

 

 

A Gambling Podcast For The Northeast

sclfeeadI found a podcast that I enjoyed from the first episode I listened to.  As the picture above shows, it is called

“Due For A Win

Here is the link to listen to a great episode on “Comps Harvesting.”

Listening to it also brought back fond memories of trips to Atlantic City in the early 90’s when a certain tribal casino in Connecticut would change the casino landscape forever in the northeast – with the help of Pennsylvania.

At that time, Atlantic City seemed to dismiss Connecticut’s tribal casinos – Foxwoods and the addition of Mohegan Sun in 1996.  AC felt it had no threats to it’s east coast monopoly on gambling, with its thousand of riders by bus – “daytrippers.”

Remembering the Claridge & the Sands.

Remembering the Claridge & the Sands.

Listening to “Due For A Win” brought back memories of playing at the Claridge, collecting all players club cards, eating at Pickles Deli and staying in the small, old, but always clean rooms at Ballys.  Going up and down the long elevator and people mover at the Sands.  It was a great time.

Summer on the Boardwalk Late 90's

Summer on the Boardwalk Late 90’s

Now I spend a few times a year driving to AC, staying at Borgata, and while I enjoy myself in AC, I leave feeling sad after seeing the closed historic casinos on the Boardwalk.

Finding this new podcast gives me hope for Atlantic City.  They add some history with great gambling segments, AC’s up-to-date casino news, and humor about a city trying to reinvent itself.

The dynamic duo of Kyle & Craig write, “We spent so much time talking about proper blackjack techniques, casino openings and closings, comped rooms in Atlantic City, and potential-but-unlikely Vegas trips that we decided to create a blog. Despite our prolific output (10 posts in three years), we realized what we really enjoy is talking about Atlantic City and the casino business with each other, so we started the Due For A Win podcast in November 2015 and have been recording our discussions every other week since then.”

Besides the terrific podcasts, they also include a blog, tweets at @dueforawin, and a kickin’ Facebook Group, where anything and everything Atlantic City can be explored with its large fan base.

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Due For A Win – A podcast and blog about Atlantic City and the casino business.

I highly recommend this podcast – even though my loyalty is here in New England with our seven casinos – 10 or 11 by 2019.  But, to be honest, I enjoy my visits to AC. I feel it will rise again to relevancy with the seven casinos it has.

From the Marina to the Boardwalk,  “Due For A Win” can help you out with questions and concerns about your next AC trip.  Give them a chance – then subscribe.  You’ll be glad you did.

Binbin

New Jersey Casinos Will Completely Change the Northeast Gambling Industry

 

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The apple + Newton = gravity? Probably not, but his notion of motion is what this post is about.

Every month in New England, Newton’s hypothesis of influence on motion takes on expanded meaning in the casino industry.  Newton’s First Law of Motion is that an object will stay at rest or remain in uniform motion (constant velocity) unless acted upon by a force. In New England and further west, it’s like one big game of “Casino Jenga” with new players and more players added to the game.

New Jersey lawmakers have reached a deal to put a statewide referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether to approve two new casinos in the northern part of the state.  The new bill would give existing Atlantic City casino operators six months to propose projects in northern New Jersey that would cost at least $1 billion. If they fail to do so, then both new licenses would be thrown open to any interested company.  The main area of consideration – the Meadow lands changing the motion of gamblers south from New York City and even Connecticut. Continue reading

In the Casino Industry, It’s Good Not to Get TOO Attached to Anything!

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I have heard many of those who write or speak about Las Vegas say that you shouldn’t get too attached to things in the gaming industry, because as soon as you do, they’ll be gone.

“Don’t it always seem to go….”

It’s so true……so many things I have remembered and enjoyed in Vegas, and in casinos everywhere, only to never find them again.

“That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Which is why I thought I’d post this today after hearing about the impending sale and implosion of the Riviera, the first hotel/casino I stayed at in Las Vegas. Not that I ever wanted to go back to the Riv, with all the choices over the last 20 years, but still,mite right up there with Flamingo, the Sands, the Dunes…..etc.

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”  (Thank you, Joni Mitchell, from “Big Yellow Taxi”)

New England Casinos had some great things, but, to quote my Canuck heritage – “There they are…..gone!”

Here’s a list of some of the things – from New England Casinos, Las Vegas or casinos in general:

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    What a great looking machine, and the graphics and video were way ahead of its time!

    Odyssey 4-play Video poker & Slot Machines – they looked like a slot machine from another planet.

  • Fidelia's Coffee Shop

    Fidelia’s Coffee Shop

    Fidelia’s – Mohegan Sun’s previous 24 hour coffee shop/restaurant.  Great food, decent prices, and the feeling of times gone by like the vegas casino coffee shop, only nicer surroundings.

  • An Atlantic City with a fun Boardwalk and 12 casinos – now, it’s just sad.
  • Great availability of full pay video poker – although Mohegan Sun does have full pay JOB, they don’t accrue points.
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    Coupon Book

    Coupon books in Vegas – it was really fun to eek out a little free slot play here and some matchplay there, finishing up with a free hotdog or drink.

  • Fado Irish Pub

    Fado Irish Pub

    Twin River’s “FaDo” Irish Pub – It was the reason a lot of people went to twin river.  Great food, and entertainment.  Sure gave Mohegan’s Lansdowne Pub a run for it’s money.

  • The old buffet at Mohegan Sun – the new version is a pricier, lower quality Studio B Buffet (M Resort, Las Vegas).  It looks like a model copy, just smaller.
  • Arena Football!  Remember when Mohegan Sun had arena football?  Sorry to see it go.  It was fun to watch all that scoring.
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    Vacation Village – great old Vegas

    Vacation Village, a dumpy little casino with some of the greatest airfare promotions in the south of the strip, & the

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    One of the first Brew pubs in Vegas – Stratosphere in the background.

    Holy Cow in Las Vegas, the first Brew Pub in Las Vegas across from the Sahara, which is also gone.  I also miss Stardust, Aladdin, Lady Luck, and Frontier – they had character.

One thing I won’t miss, but I thought I would – coins!  Nope, love the TITO (Ticket In, Ticket Out) and don’t miss the hopper fills, never mind my dirty hands from dealing with coins.

That’s all for now

Binbin

Casino Industry Review of Northeast Casinos Status

If you live in the northeast, and follow the casino industry, all you read about is expansion, saturation, and competition.  Let’s quickly review the often heard headlines (some are true, some exaggerated, and some under-estimated):

MoSun SignConnecticut Casinos are on the verge of losses beyond recovery.

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Foxwoods Casino & Resort

Connecticut casinos are confident of their own way of re-inventing themselves toward New England Relavancy.

Massachusetts Casinos are ready to start the building – with Plainridge Park as it’s only slot parlor ready to open by the fall of 2015.Plainridge Park Logo

Massachusetts is still in a mess concerning it’s third full casino license in the Southeastern area.

Connecticut is considering adding casinos/slot parlors to keep residents from going to surrounding states.

Empire Catskills Casino Rendition

Empire Catskills Casino Rendition

New York State is opening three new casinos – sites in Sullivan, Schenectady and Seneca counties – to expand gaming in the state, help economic depressed counties, and not particularly compete with NY’s the native casinos.

New York’s casinos will compete with MGM’s new Springfield Casino – only 90 minutes away from the catskills.

MGM, Springfield Mass

MGM, Springfield Mass

Steve Wynn continues to find push-back’s in many forms, delaying the clean-up in Everett.

Newport Grand Slots

Newport Grand Slots

Rhode Island’s two casinos will face incredible competition from MA & CT casinos, possibly causing the closure of Newport Grand (in my opinion)

Atlantic City continues to spiral, although there is some hope, since the remaining casinos have shown profit of late.

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Casino Locations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania continues to drain off potential gamblers from New Jersey, is adding yet another Philadelphia casino, and yet is still reeling from the new big dog in eastern gambling – Maryland.

And the final news of late – New Hampshire is once again considering adding casino gambling, for the umpteenth time.  It’s really comical.  Probably because Maine’s two casinos continue to profit at its expense.

And in Maine? – rumor has it that expansion to two more casinos is being considered.

My next post tomorrow will include a report that shows a different story concerning a rise in casino revenue across the country.

Until then, That’s all for Now!

Binbin