Winter Storm Beach Erosion May Keep Some AC Beach Bars Closed This Summer

Written By David Danzis on March 13, 2024
Shot of Hard Rock, Showboat and Ocean Casino Resort for a story on beach bars closing this summer due to beach erosion

A couple of Atlantic City casinos at the north end of Absecon Island may not be able to open their beach bars this summer due to erosion from winter storms. At the same time, other properties in the area struggle with what to do about a rapidly disappearing coastline.

Following weeks of speculation and internet gossip, high-ranking casino executives finally acknowledged the severity of the AC beach erosion and its potential impact on summer tourists.

During a recent public meeting at City Hall, Mike Sampson, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, said that without emergency beach replenishment, the beach bar in front of the Boardwalk casino might not be operational this summer.

“At Hard Rock, Resorts (Casino Hotel), Steel Pier and Ocean (Casino Resort), we are concerned about the beach this summer. There has been a tremendous amount of beach erosion from winter storms. We lost the beach bar completely and are (demolishing) that and removing debris.”

Memorial Day opening of beach bars out of reach for Atlantic City casinos

PlayNJ contacted Hard Rock Atlantic City about this topic on Feb. 28 after hearing directly from employees that the beach bar could not open this summer. Several Hard Rock customers shared similar stories about the beach bar closures on Facebook pages dedicated to Atlantic City and AC casinos.

That same day, Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel and president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, told a gathered crowd at a meeting of the Public Relations Council of Greater Atlantic City that the two neighboring beach bars (Hard Rock and Resorts) were “wiped out.”

While nothing is official, it seems unlikely that Hard Rock or Resorts Atlantic City will have their beach bars ready for business by the unofficial start of summer — Memorial Day weekend.

Public funding needed to address beach erosion

At some of the Atlantic City beaches, the erosion has created sand cliffs as steep as six to eight feet. Other beaches have essentially washed away, and the waves are dangerously close to the dunes between the Boardwalk and the ocean.

Sampson told the AC public safety committee that government involvement is needed.

“We have engaged Sen. (Cory) Booker’s office, the mayor’s office and are attempting to have emergency relief for beach replenishment prior to the summer,” he said.

Beachfront properties see ocean getting closer

Further north on the island, Ocean Casino Resort is dealing with a rapidly deteriorating beach in front of its property. Last year, Ocean’s ownership spent $700,000 to replenish the beach between New Jersey Avenue and Metropolitian Avenue.

Hard Rock, Resorts and the other properties in the area, such as the Steel Pier and Showboat Hotel Atlantic City, hope to avoid a similar outcome in 2024.

City officials say the last major beach replenishment project — which was paid for with federal funds — took place nearly three years ago.

Photo by Wayne Parry / AP Photo
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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