Right now, Atlantic City, like other gambling hubs around the world, is a ghost town. The coronavirus has shutdown gaming facilities as well as other non-essential businesses which has led to a loss of jobs and revenues. Some businesses are getting back to work, but very slowly. The coronavirus threat is still real and everyone wants to stay safe. Casinos in Atlantic City plan on getting back to work soon, with operators looking for ways to bring in much-needed revenues.
This week, one casino announced a rather interesting way they plan on bringing in visitors. The Showboat owner Bart Blatstein has stated he plans on creating an indoor water park in his facility. The developer has plans to spend around $100 million on the project.
For Blatstein, the developer plans on breaking ground on the new project in August, which really isn’t that long away. The news of the plans were revealed this week by the Associated Press and stated that the indoor park would be open year-round and located in a parking lot that is situated between the facility and the Ocean Casino Resort.
While we know the idea is moving forward, we don’t know much else. Blatstein is being rather hush-hush on the project and only provided a brief explanation. He said that Atlantic City does not have a family market and he plans on opening up a whole new market that does not currently exist.
But is it a good idea? The casinos in Atlantic City are located near the ocean, and if you are visiting the area, chances are you want to get in the ocean. However, the Showboat could cater to young families, with an option for year-round travel. Parents of young kids could easily visit the area in the fall or winter and have something fun to do with the kids.
It would be expected that the facility will be super family friendly. There are not very many types of attractions in Atlantic City, so creating something new might work out. Or it might not. It is really a guessing game and essentially a $100 million risk for Blatstein.
Right now, the property is empty. The casino floor is vacant and the parking lot that could be used for the water park would work. By creating such a facility, will the Showboat become a premier destination for families? Will the developer be able to create something new that will appeal to families?
For the developer, he is super focused on the Showboat. Just a short time ago, he announced selling the Playground pier to a Caesars Entertainment subsidiary. Two years ago, Blatstein stated he was planning on turning some hotel rooms of the facility into apartment options. Over time, he has been steadily purchasing land around the Showboat.
We also know that Blatstein is considering casino gaming. The Showboat was first established as a casino in March 1987. It closed down in 2014 along with three other casinos. The developer is considering the idea but has not spoken publicly about any plans to bring gaming back to the facility.
Perhaps the plans for the waterpark are just the tip of the iceberg and Blatstein has much more planned for the Showboat. Only time will tell what the developer has in store and we will stay turned, reporting everything we learn as information is made available.