With the signature smashing of a guitar, a new era in Atlantic City gaming was ushered in on June 29th with the opening of the Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City. This is fantastic news for a city that has been on the decline for many years, even decades. No longer a real tourist attraction for gamblers, and being battered by weather over the last few years, the New Jersey town had definitely seen better days. Adding insult to injury, the land-based casinos were starting to feel the financial pinch of less foot traffic, and attempts to get into sports betting had been met with heavy resistance.
The new Hard Rock Casino took over the real estate that once was the Tak Mahal, a Trump property that had been closed. Hard Rocka was able to secure the property for only $50 million, although it was going to take a significant investment to return the hotel to glory and all under a new brand.
“This is a historical day for both Hard Rock and Atlantic City, and we’re thrilled to welcome brand enthusiasts, locals, families and music lovers with open arms to experience our one-of-a-kind offering,” remarked Jim Allen, who is the CEO of Hard Rock International. “We are grateful for our partners, and together, we completed the more than $500 million renovations in record time.”
The new hotel boasts 2,000 guest rooms and suites, as well as a whole host of new restaurants and a huge spa. The opening of the hotel is a big win for a city that desperately needs some good PR these days. With closings, bankruptcies and the damage to the famous Boardwalk, Atlantic City had seemingly rolled craps.
The Biggest asset of all?
Along with the shuttered hotel, Hard Rock also picked up a license for online casino and poker as well as sports gambling. The company wasted no time in launching their online casino site, powered by one of the top software firms in the industry, Gaming Innovation Group. Residents and visitors to New Jersey can now access the Hard Rock casino online, offering hundreds of top slot machines and table games without having to step foot into the property.
As for sports betting, the casino seems to have picked a vendor for its in-house sportsbook, but they have not yet released that information to the public. There is speculation that it may be a deal with 888 or Betfair Paddy Power, but all we know for sure is that an announcement is coming soon. What we did learn this week is that Bet365 has entered into an arrangement with the Hard Rock to launch their own sportsbook as a skin of the Hard Rock license. This means that Bet365 will be both a partner and a competitor in the space, but that doesn’t seem to phase the casino in the least.
More launches to come?
Another renovated casino, The Ocean Club, was also re-opened this week, albeit to far less fanfare than the Hard Rock. The old Revel property has been completely refurbished and is now open for business. It is assumed that this casino will also be jumping into the already crowded online gambling waters, but to date, there has been no announcement to speak of from the property.
This is all great news for Atlantic City, and the final piece of good news came in May of this year when the Supreme Court of the United States sided with the state with regards to sports betting, repealing the PASPA legislation and opening the door to regulated sports betting. This can only help the City, which hopes it will be a nice addition to the bottom line of all its properties. Only time will tell how profitable sports betting will be in the state, but rest assured there are many potential players who are thrilled that New Jersey went to battle for them.