Atlantic City casinos reinvesting millions despite COVID

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — With COVID-19 restrictions limiting how many individuals can gamble inside, and income and income plunging, this may not sound like the very best time for Atlantic City’s casinos to be spending massive on renovations.

And but they’re, seeking to a post-pandemic future when gamblers shall be in search of the newest factor. They’re investing lots of of millions of {dollars} with these days in thoughts.

The newest to open the company checkbook is Hard Rock, which instructed The Associated Press on Monday it should spend $20 million to renovate resort suites, open a Starbucks outlet, buy new slot machines and tables video games, add a brand new restaurant and improve its beachfront facilities.

The renovations are available a span of some weeks through which the Ocean Casino Resort introduced it’s spending $15 million on upgrades to the on line casino ground, in addition to outside facilities like swimming pools, cabanas and the seashore, and Harrah’s unveiled three new eating places, a brand new spa and a renovated foyer bar.

Harrah’s mother or father firm, Caesars Entertainment, lately outlined specifics of the $400 million it pledged New Jersey playing regulators it might make at its three Atlantic City casinos (Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana) throughout final yr’s change-of-ownership hearings.

And Bally’s Corp. is plowing $90 million again into the Atlantic City on line casino of the identical title that it acquired from Caesars Entertainment final yr.

Both these investments will span three years.

And Resorts is opening a brand new digital tables video games space later this month with 19 terminals, and shall be making a “significant investment” in new slot machines this yr, and opening a brand new restaurant.

Hard Rock is opening its pockets lower than three years after spending a half-billion {dollars} to intestine the previous Trump Taj Mahal on line casino and switch it right into a Hard Rock on line casino resort.

And it’s doing so in a market depressed by COVID-19 restrictions and the hesitancy of some gamblers and vacationers to return to in-person casinos. Numerous well being and security measures have been in place since they reopened final July, together with limiting occupancy of the on line casino ground to 50%.

“We need to reinvigorate Atlantic City,” mentioned Hard Rock president Joe Lupo. “With declining revenue, there are only so many visitors out there. It’s become more competitive. Those properties like Hard Rock that are in it for the long run, are investing their dollars now.”

For Hard Rock, the majority of the $20 million will go towards renovations of 91 visitor suites. But each resort room within the advanced will get new televisions and lighting as nicely.

Sound upgrades can even be made to the on line casino’s Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena and Sound Waves live performance venues. Meeting and conference area shall be refurbished, as will the indoor pool.

The coronavirus outbreak despatched income plunging by greater than 80% final yr at Atlantic City’s 9 casinos, and issues would have been worse had it not been for the continued progress of web playing and a small assist from sports betting.

A dealer conducts a game of roulette at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City N.J. on July 2, 2020, the first day the casino was allowed to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
A vendor conducts a sport of roulette on the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City N.J. on July 2, 2020, the primary day the on line casino was allowed to reopen through the coronavirus pandemic.

But the virus gained’t final perpetually, and when prospects do return in droves, casinos need them to come back to their services.

By Lupo’s reckoning, there are three “new” on line casino firms in Atlantic City: his personal, which opened Hard Rock in June 2018; the upcoming 50% partnership within the Ocean on line casino by the Ilitch household of Detroit (Ocean opened the identical day as Hard Rock did); and the brand new Caesars Entertainment, which stored the title however adopted the administration of the previous Eldorado Resorts in final yr’s merger.

“With this new investment comes a need for our companies to ensure that their product and the experience they offer meets the needs of people, especially at a time when the city has been declining since we reopened in July,” he mentioned. “We realize we have an opportunity. The constant change gives our visitors something new to look forward to, and that has always been important in Atlantic City.”

It additionally takes into impact the continuing competitors throughout it, from casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and different northeastern states that had been consuming away at Atlantic City’s market even earlier than the pandemic.

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