Harrah’s Builds On 40 Years Of Atlantic City Success

Written By Bill Gelman on December 30, 2019

The year 2020 is a big one for Harrah’s Atlantic City.

Over the past four decades, several Atlantic City casinos have opened and closed.

Harrah’s, on the other hand, will be celebrating its 40th year of operation.

The majority of the anniversary details are still in the planning stages. Caesars Entertainment, however, announced that it will be sprucing up the property for the big occasion.

The company sent out a press release detailing a $24 million investment dedicated to its newly rebranded Laguna Tower.

The much smaller, original version of Harrah’s opened on Nov. 22, 1980.

Ron Baumann, regional president for Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City, oversees three Atlantic City casinos:

His thoughts on the latest upgrades:

 “We are thrilled to introduce our new Laguna Tower to our guests in 2020, which will complete over $86 million in upgrades to our rooms and suites within the last three years.

“With live entertainment, world-class restaurants, sports betting, exciting nightlife venues like The Pool After Dark, along with the East Coast’s preeminent conference center, Harrah’s truly offers something for everyone – whether staying for work or play.”

With this latest project, Caesars Entertainment has invested nearly $300 million into its Atlantic City casino-resorts over the last four years.

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Joining the 40-something club

As we begin another decade of New Jersey casino gambling, Harrah’s is the latest property to hit the big 4-0.

The flagship Caesars Atlantic City celebrated the milestone occasion in June. Sister property Bally’s turns 40 this month.

Resorts is the oldest in town, having opened its doors in 1978.

Of course, the above-mentioned casino hotels are not leading the market these days. That title belongs to the Borgata, and by a wide margin.

Based on the latest numbers released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the MGM-owned property’s year-to-date total NJ gaming revenue is now at $731.3 million.

By comparison, Harrah’s is at $287 million, which puts it in the middle of the pack.

But the bigger, more important number is $3.02 billion. That is the year-to-date total gaming revenue for AC’s nine casinos. And it’s a 15.7% year-over-year increase from 2018.

Harrah’s continues to enhance its look

Harrah’s has expanded to massive heights over these past 40 years.

It was the first of three casinos to open in the Marina DistrictTrump Marina (now the Golden Nugget) and Borgata are the others. Back then, there was just one hotel tower with a tad over 500 rooms.

And it did not open with 160,000 square feet of gaming space.

The Laguna Tower project is the latest of several recent capital improvements/expansions:

  • $56 million guest rooms and suite renovation of its Coastal Tower (formerly the Harbour Tower) was completed last year.
  • The $125 million Waterfront Conference Center (home of the East Coast Gaming Congress) opened in 2015.
  • The Book at Harrah’s, a permanent 3,800-square-foot sportsbook (part of an $11 million investment that included The Book at Bally’s), started taking bets in the spring.
  • Gordon Ramsay Steak opened in 2018.

These are just some of the latest improvements. The nongaming offerings are what help bring customers back to town.

The AC gambling market has experienced its share of challenging times over the last four decades, but Harrah’s continues to prove it has what it takes to survive.

With the Caesars-Eldorado merger expected to complete soon, the year 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting one.

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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