By WAYNE PARRY Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY – The sound of hammers and the whine of electric saws vie for attention with the beeping of slot machines and the clack of the bouncing roulette ball at many Atlantic City casinos this spring as the halls of games spend millions to update their properties.
The projects come as the gambling industry anticipates a busy summer with diminishing pandemic fears and the casino industry sees increased activity.
Hotel room renovations, casino floor redesigns, new restaurants and pools are all being built this spring, with more to follow later in the year.
Part of that is down to the usual upkeep that casinos do to gain or maintain market share, but this year the investments are particularly heavy as casino executives expect a banner summer with more and more people more accustomed to living with COVID-19.
“The thing is, we are still in recovery mode from the coronavirus pandemic; our business has still not reached 2019 revenue levels,” said Mark Giannantonio, President of Resorts Casino. “What will help is reinvesting in the product. A lot of places are spending real money on projects this year.”
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The resorts rooftop pool is being redone to make it fully enclosed but with a retractable roof and panels so it can be opened on hot days and heated on colder days. It should be ready by the end of June.
The casino is also investing $5 million in new table games and slots, revamping its high-limit slots area and creating a new Asian-themed VIP room.
“We’re excited about summer in Atlantic City,” said Bill Callahan, general manager of the Ocean Casino Resort, which will roll out $100 million in new amenities between May and October of this year.
Ocean is finishing 12 floors of hotel rooms that were never completed when the casino opened as Revel in 2012. At least some of the rooms should be ready by July. And Ocean is redoing its sports book in the center of the casino and adding a new casual restaurant.
Callahan said his casino has seen “an increase in demand” since last year.
“This demand, combined with diminished travel concerns about the pandemic and impending land-based tourism, will create great energy and volume for our resort and the broader Atlantic City market,” he said. declared.
The US casino industry as a whole is off to its best two-month start in history, earning nearly $9 billion from players in January and February, and casinos want to be ready for the expected surge this summer.
“There are nine different casinos here that people can choose from, so you have to stay competitive,” said Michael Monty, chief executive of Bally’s, which is spending $100 million over five years to bring what has for years been the Atlantic City’s worst performing property. back to relevance.
Their latest projects include a 360-degree rotating bar and an indoor-outdoor beer garden. They are also redoing 750 hotel rooms.
Hard Rock will spend $20 million this year on renovations, including adding 70 slot machines and seven more table games; renovate its convention space, beach bar and employee spaces.
Caesars Casino will begin work this year on a new theater and resident show that will open in the first quarter of 2023. The project will incorporate the facade of the old 1929 Warner Theater, which is currently part of the casino’s exterior facing the walk.
A new restaurant is also planned for Caesars in 2022, opened by a hotel company involving actor Robert De Niro who will also renovate hotel rooms there. Caesars Entertainment is partnering with Nobu Hospitality for a project to be called Nobu Hotel Atlantic City.
They’re not ready to reveal specifics, but Tropicana plans to add eight new food and beverage outlets this year and Harrah’s will open three casual dining outlets.
And a hotel that isn’t a casino is spending a lot this year too. The Showboat, a former casino, is building a $100 million year-round indoor water park next door. And its Lucky Snake arcade adds an indoor go-kart track that’s slated to open in May.
The Borgata and Golden Nugget declined to comment for this story, but Borgata said it will announce one or more projects later this year.