One Day Later, Atlantic City Is Still Buzzing With Hard Rock, Ocean Resort Openings

Hard Rock Atlantic City

The Atlantic City Boardwalk was jumping Thursday morning.

For the first time since 2012, a new casino was opening its doors on the Boardwalk. In fact, not one, but two casinos held grand opening celebrations: Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. Officially, both properties opened the night before, but Thursday was the official ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

The opening of either casino would have been a big-to-do, but the simultaneous launch made Atlantic City the place to be on Thursday.

Adding to the hype, Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort are reclamation projects. Both are new iterations of shuttered billion-dollar casino properties, with the new owners pumping massive amounts of money to renovate and hopefully reinvigorate the properties.

Hard Rock Atlantic City at a glance

The new Hard Rock Atlantic City is the former Trump Taj Mahal, but you’ll be forgiven if you don’t see the connection.

Hard Rock completely transformed the property inside and out, spending around $500 million on renovations to turn this:

Trump Taj Mahal New Jersey Casino


Into this:

Hard Rock AC

More on the new Hard Rock AC.

Ocean Resort Casino at a glance

Ocean Resort Casino had far less work to do.

Its previous incarnation, Revel, opened in 2012 and closed in 2014. Revel cost $2.4 billion and was considered one of, if not THE, nicest properties in Atlantic City when it closed.

Still, ORC did put about $175 million into the property, most of that going toward correcting some of the major design flaws that contributed to the Revel’s failure.

More on the new Ocean Resort Casino.

If we hurry, we can make both parties

Hard Rock Atlantic City’s grand opening began at 11 a.m., and a near-two-hour affair culminated with a lot of “suits” smashing guitars on stage.

Eric Ramsey of PlayNJ estimated about 4,000 people were piled into the 7,700-seat Mark G. Etess Arena for the festivities:

The length of the Hard Rock AC opening may have been by design, considering Ocean Resort Casino’s opening ceremony was slated for 1 p.m. In contrast to Hard Rock, though, Ocean Resort kept it short and sweet:

Owner Bruce Deifik and Mark Wahlberg (an investor in the project) did most of the talking in a short, outdoor presentation.

The pair then moved inside to place the first sports bet at the property.

A sportsbook is something Ocean Resort currently has that Hard Rock Atlantic City doesn’t. But Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen did say that a sportsbook is coming to the property in the next 30-60 days.

Both casinos were hopping

In addition to the strong turnout for the grand openings, both casinos were overwhelmed throughout the day.


A look at what the two casinos bring to the table

Hard Rock Atlantic City visitors will find:

  • 2,000 hotel rooms.
  • 2,200 slot machines and 120 gaming tables spread across a 167,000-square-foot gaming floor.
  • More than 20 dining and nightlife options.
  • Two entertainment theaters with over 8,000 combined seats, including a larger, renovated Mark G. Etess Arena (seating has gone from 5,200 to 7,700).
  • 300+ nights of entertainment already booked.
  • Dozens of retail stores.

The Atlantic City Hard Rock also houses the largest collection of rock n’ roll memorabilia in the world.

Ocean Resort Casino visitors will find:

  • 1,400 hotel rooms affiliated with Hyatt Hotel.
  • 2,000 slots and 100 table games spread across a reconfigured 131,000-square-foot gaming floor.
  • 13 dining options, including Cereal Town and multiple Chef Garces restaurants.
  • Six pools and the Exhale Spa.
  • Dozens of retail options.
  • A 5,500 seat arena.

Like Hard Rock, Ocean Resort has its own unique features, including the largest Topgolf Swing Suite in the world.

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Steve Ruddock


Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.