Hard Rock in Atlantic City is the latest casino in the seaside town that’s spending tens of millions of dollars on brick and mortar upgrades ahead of a summer season slated to be buoyed by post-pandemic-fueled tourist demand.
Casino executives said Hard Rock is spending $20 million on upgrades, many of which will go online beginning the end of May, according to a May 3 announcement. The overhaul includes renovations of 91 luxury suites, a new Starbucks along the boardwalk, more slots and table games, a new dining outlet, and beach upgrades.
“Our growth over the past year during unprecedented circumstances speaks to guests’ trust in our property and enjoyment of their experiences, which we will continue to evolve and improve,” Hard Rock AC President Joe Lupo said in the announcement.
Despite continuing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 restrictions casino executives say they’re optimistic about their prospects this summer.
They’ve cited ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts, an ebbing pandemic, business re-openings and more outdoor activities that come with warmer weather. Boardwalk attractions, amusement rides, games, dining and entertainment located along the Atlantic City boardwalk all can be enjoyed outside.
There are nine brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City: Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Harrah’s Resort, Ocean Casino Resort, Resorts Casino Hotel and Tropicana. Following the enactment statewide COVID-19 restrictions, the gaming palaces did not reopen until July 2020, and then at only 25% capacity. That’s now been increased to 50% capacity.
According to figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, brick and mortar casino revenue fell 80% in 2020 compared to 2019.
But as the summer approaches, executives for casinos, dining and hospitality said they’re ramping up the amenities available to patrons.
The state’s largest arcade is opening on May 15 at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, which does not have a casino. And Caesars Entertainment announced in April that it’s spending $170 million to upgrade hotel rooms at two of its properties: Harrah’s Resort and Caesars. Those open this summer, just in time for the tourist season, on top of other dining and entertainment amenities at Harrah’s.
“We remain bullish on Atlantic City, and this commitment will further position us for long-term growth and success,” Caesars Chief Operating Officer Anthony Carano said in an April 21 statement