At this point, it should come as no surprise that Atlantic City is home to two new casinos. With Atlantic City only an hour and ten minutes from Philadelphia, residents of that city have two new places on their list to try.
Both casinos opened to great fanfare on June 28. The dual openings, a first in Atlantic City history, are hoped to be the beginning of a rebound for America’s Playground.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City is the latest property sporting the name of the iconic brand. As is custom for the company, the grand opening featured numerous luminaries and celebrities smashing guitars together.
Hard Rock exists in the old Trump Taj Mahal. However, the hotel has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to erase any vestige of its India-themed predecessor.
Hard Rock’s casino features 2100 slot machines and 120 table games. The property features over 2,000 hotel rooms, eight restaurants (including a Hard Rock Cafe, of course), and live entertainment every single night in one of its many venues.
For Ocean Resort, its mission is to erase the painful memory of Revel. The multi-billion dollar hotel and casino closed after only four years of operation, and its tenure ranks among the worst flops in Atlantic City history.
Fortunately, new owner Bruce Deifik has emphasized making the newly-renovated property more welcoming and user-friendly. Gone is the wall that divided Revel from the Boardwalk.
Deifik also reconfigured the casino layout to ease foot traffic patterns. The vertigo-inducing escalator into the property now features safety panels.
Deifik also aimed Ocean Resort at a more common type of patron. So, maligned elements like a smoking ban and a lack of buffet are no longer present.
New Atlantic City casinos also come with new sports betting
Ocean Resort features a temporary sports betting facility. According to statements in its licensing hearing, the permanent sportsbook will open in a matter of weeks.
European gaming giant William Hill has partnered with Ocean Resort to bring sports betting to the Jersey Shore. This past week, Hard Rock announced that it had struck a deal with Bet365, although it now appears that deal is only to allow the sports betting company to operate a skin on Hard Rock’s license.
Sports betting is also available in New Jersey at Borgata in Atlantic City and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. On July 15, the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford will open its doors to accept sports wagering.
New Jersey casinos may also apply to provide online sports betting on July 11. Daily fantasy sports provider DraftKings has already announced its intentions to offer sports wagering as quickly as it can, and rival FanDuel will likely do the same at Meadowlands.
These options hopefully provide relief for Philadelphians frustrated that no sports betting options exist in their own state. Yes, sports betting is now legal in Pennsylvania, but so far there are no applications in for the $10 million sports betting license.
Casinos and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board remain at odds over the fee and tax demands the PGCB has written into the regulations. The casino interests are also unhappy with the state’s iLottery, which the casinos claim is tantamount to slot machine play.
Philadelphians still have several homegrown options nearby
However, Philadelphia residents can still play at one of the four casinos in the metro Philly if they do not wish to drive across the Delaware River. Two racinos, one pure casino, and a casino resort exist within 20 miles of downtown Philadelphia.
Resident can play at one of the following Philadelphia casinos:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia (casino and harness racing)
- Parx Casino and Racing (casino and horseracing)
- SugarHouse Casino
- Valley Forge Casino Resort
Additionally, Philadelphians can look forward to the opening of a fifth option. The still-under-construction Philly Live! will open sometime in 2020.