Atlantic City Casinos Upping The $1B Investment Ante In 2023

Written By Bill Gelman on January 27, 2023 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
Bally's AC

The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) sees Atlantic City as a “world-class resort destination.” The plan requires significant investments from all nine Atlantic City casinos.

When visiting Caesars and Bally’s,  you can’t help but  notice where the combined $300 million is being spent. According to a CANJ press release, AC casinos have invested over $1 billion dollars into the marketplace over the past several years. The list has included everything from hotel room renovations, new restaurants and updated amenities.

As the trade organization’s collective voice for the Atlantic City casino industry, the CANJ is excited about what’s still to come.

And there is the Showboat Hotel where the $100-million Island Waterpark will be opening this summer. Showboat owner Bart Blatstein has announced a $50 million hotel renovation project.

All nine hotel casinos are either in the middle of or getting ready to make significant investments this year. Here is a closer look at what is planned for 2023.

Solidifying Atlantic City’s position as a ‘world-class resort destination’

Looking back at 2022, the Atlantic City market as a whole saw significant investments. The CANJ used the words “a year of rebuilding and recovery” for the AC casino industry. Besides weathering the lingering effects from the global pandemic, it’s hard ignoring the economic challenges.

However, looking at December’s AC land-based revenue results, business continues to take a positive turn. Besides seeing a 9% year-over-year growth, the nine casinos generated a combined $215.6 million last month. That’s the strongest December in 10 years.

Mark Giannantonio, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey. has a positive outlook regarding the year ahead.

“As we move into a new year, Atlantic City casinos are committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers, which includes making significant investments that will continue to solidify Atlantic City’s position as a world-class resort destination with top-notch dining, shopping and entertainment offerings,” Giannantonio said.

And this is a time when Atlantic City needs to get things right. There are rumblings of downstate New York casinos possibly coming sooner rather than later. Even a potential Caesars Palace Times Square project is being discussed.

Completing the Caesars Atlantic City transformation

For now, Caesars Entertainment is investing significant capital in the Atlantic City market.

Parent company Caesars Entertainment has earmarked $200 million specifically for the flagship property. Here’s the rundown of what’s coming soon:

  • Nobu Hotel will take over the top three floors of the Centurion Tower.
  • “The Hook” by Spiegelworld is coming in June.  Tickets are on sale.
  • Lobby and valet transformation (including an all-new Starbucks).

Caesars describes the lobby and valet areas as creating  “an elegant and welcoming sense of arrival for guests.”

Regulars are well aware of the AC debuts of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and Nobu. The hotel rooms in the Centurion and Ocean towers have been updated as well.

Latest updates from around Caesars Entertainment’s AC Empire

In 2022, Tropicana Atlantic City introduced several new restaurant and entertainment concepts. And there’s more coming. Besides opening the new il Verdi location, expect to see casino floor enhancements. It’s being billed as “one of the market’s first casinos of the future.” The entire gaming floor is being revamped.

And in the Marina District, Harrah’s Resort, which has benefited from Caesars Entertainment’s $400 million master plan, is getting a Purple Zebra Daiquiri Bar outlet.

Bally’s AC $100 million later

It’s hard not mentioning Bally’s in the Atlantic City spending spree conversation. The property’s fresh look is the end result of  over $100 million in renovations. Besides a brand new hotel lobby with a rotating bar, there are new hotel rooms and The Yard indoor/outdoor beer garden.

At the moment,  Bally’s is not sharing any big 2023 news. “Enhancing the customer experience by adding new slots, new ways to win” is the current focus.

What’s next after Ocean Casino Resort’s $85M investment?

Yes, Ocean Casino Resort is still one of Atlantic City’s newer properties.  Like nearby Hard Rock Hotel & Casino it opened during the summer of 2018.

The current state of the property makes one forget this is the former Revel – arguably the biggest bust in AC casino history. More importantly, the reinvestments are paying off as Ocean is ranked No. 3 among AC casino revenue leaders. For December, Ocean earned $29.5 million from slots and table games (a year-over-year increase of 11.3%).

Besides being newer, Ocean’s success could be attributed to $85 million worth of upgrades.

Some $72 million of it was used for new hotel rooms and suites. Having 12 floors of hotel rooms that were never finished under the previous owner needed to be addressed.

Here are some other highlights:

  • Opening the  $5.2 million Gallery Bar Book & Games sportsbook
  • AC debut of Serendipity3 – home of the world famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
  • Bottled-Wine Spirits & Tastings (coming soon)
  • Another new Atlantic City Starbucks location

However, Ocean isn’t stopping there as the property owners are dedicating an additional $15 million to redesign seven more hotel floors. Other capital expenditure will cover The Soup Spot and a private helipad.

What other Atlantic City casinos are planning

Other Atlantic City casinos are in the early planning stages. PlayNJ will provide updates once the details are made public.

For now, here is a brief rundown of other projects mentioned in the CANJ release:

  • Golden Nugget Atlantic City will begin a multi-million-dollar remodeling project redesigning its rooms and suites.
  • Resorts, the oldest of Atlantic City’s gaming halls, will make “major capital improvements” to its hotel, gaming operations and technology.
  • The market-leading Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa recently completed multimillion-dollar enhancements of Old Homestead Steak House and  Miralto (its high limit slots lounge). For 2023, “further enhancements throughout Borgata will be center stage and not easily missed.”
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is investing over $30 million dollars in live entertainment.
Photo by Ted Shaffrey/AP
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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

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