By Wayne Parry
The Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Atlantic City casino executives are moving forward with ambitious new plans in 2022, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make it harder to do business.
And non-casino projects involving family entertainment, education, and the offshore wind industry will take off this year.
But the challenges are also hidden.
In-person gambling revenues at seven of the nine casinos are down from 2019, before the pandemic hit. Revenues from sports betting and internet gambling have filled some of the gap, but this money must be shared with third parties, including technology platforms and sports betting, and is not just reserved for casinos.
Legislation enacted by Gov. Phil Murphy in December gives casinos some relief from large increases in payments they had to pay to Atlantic City, Atlantic County and the school system in lieu of property taxes.
A big unknown is how long and how severe the pandemic, and in particular the fast-spreading omicron variant, will affect customers’ willingness to gamble in person in 2022.
And a big challenge is that New York will soon start allowing people to bet on phones or other mobile devices anywhere in the state – starting this month, but almost certainly in time for the Super Bowl in. February.
Gaming industry executives and analysts expect New Jersey to lose at least 20% of its sports betting volume, as New York residents who previously had to travel through New Jersey to bet will be able to do so at home or nearby.
Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts casino, said he was “extremely optimistic for a great year” in 2022.
Starting in February, Resorts will renovate its rooftop pool and add a retractable roof to allow it to be used year-round. Resorts is also investing $ 5 million in new table games and slots, a remodel of its high limit slots area and the creation of a new Asian-themed VIP room.
This spring or summer, the Ocean Casino Resort will see the start of a $ 75 million project to complete 12 floors of hotel rooms that were not completed before the casino opened as Revel in 2012.
Caesars Casino will begin work in 2022 on a new theater that is slated to open in the first quarter of 2023. The project will incorporate the facade of the old Warner Theater, which is part of the casino exterior facing the promenade.
Also scheduled for Caesars in 2022 is the construction of a new restaurant and the refurbishment of hotel rooms. Caesars Entertainment is teaming up with Nobu Hospitality for a project to be called Nobu Hotel Atlantic City.
Bally’s will unveil 750 renovated hotel rooms, a renovated lobby and bar, and indoor-outdoor entertainment venue in 2022.
Meanwhile, non-casino projects are underway. The land is slated to open early this year on a $ 100 million indoor water park that will be built next to the former Showboat Casino, which now operates as a no-gambling hotel.
Additionally, construction of a new ShopRite supermarket in Atlantic City is scheduled to begin in 2022. Currently, a large supermarket is missing. The store is slated to open in 2023.
Stockton University hopes to complete a new student residence in the city this year.
Additionally, Atlantic Cape Community College plans to open a wind energy workforce training center on its municipal campus in the fall.