Atlantic City celebrated the first half summer with two new casinos, a beach concert, and of course, the Fourth of July. The combination of events led to a marked increase in the number of visitors to America’s Playground.
Between June 27 and July 8, a total of 818,255 toll-paying vehicles passed through Pleasantville on the AC Expressway. That figure eclipses numbers from the same time period last year by almost 50,000 cars.
Given the traffic jam, the one million visitors city officials predicted seems like a pretty good guess.
New casinos provide the biggest draw
The properties, both renovations of previous casinos, opened within hours of each other on June 28. Hard Rock began with its traditional guitar smash, and Ocean Resort followed with its slightly less-traditional blessing from actor Mark Wahlberg.
Sports betting may have helped boost the numbers, too.
Ocean Resort opened its sportsbook on day one, partnering with European gaming giant William Hill to operate a facility at the center of the casino. In a scant three days of taking bets, the temporary booth at ORC reported June revenue approaching $200,000.
Borgata also operates a sportsbook in Atlantic City, and more competition is coming soon.
Music, sunshine didn’t hurt
Three days after the new casinos opened, thousands flocked to the city for a concert by musician Sam Hunt. Upwards of 30,000 people saw the singer/songwriter perform on July 1 as part of the Atlantic City BeachFest Concert Series.
A stretch of terrific weather allowed visitors to stroll the Boardwalk in comfort too. The city’s other events and associations can cause one to forget that AC remains a beach town at heart. The smooth climate was a relief to a state battered by powerful winter storms the first three months of 2018.
As good as the numbers are, that twelve-day period was pretty unique for the city. It remains to be seen whether or not the Expressway will show signs of increased traffic over the long term.