Resorts AC Future Plans Include High ‘Steaks’ Investments

Posted on January 6, 2021

Resorts Casino Hotel is one of the smaller players in Atlantic City, but the Boardwalk property can still pack a punch. 

While the coronavirus pandemic has been delivering economic body blows and headshots to the city’s gaming industry for nearly a year, Resorts has not only stayed in the bout, it has fought back.

A new dining concept set to open later this year is the most recent example of Resorts’ ongoing capital investments that have kept the historic casino hotel competitive in the rough-and-tumble Atlantic City gaming market.

On Tuesday, Resorts announced Dougherty’s Steakhouse and Raw Bar will open in the spring. The new venue will replace Gallagher’s Steakhouse and Gallagher’s Burger Bar, both of which closed at the start of this year.

Resorts Casino Hotel CEO promises ‘something special’

Resorts partnered with the Dougherty family, a marriage between one of Atlantic City’s most revered restaurant families and the city’s first casino. The Dougherty family operates The Knife & Fork Inn, Dock’s Oyster House, and Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood in Atlantic City as well as the nearby Linwood Country Club

Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts, told Play NJ the partnership would boost the casino’s existing portfolio of “world-class restaurants.” 

“The Dougherty’s have done an incredible job. They’re great restaurateurs,” Giannantonio said. “The opportunity arose and I thought no better partnership could be made than with people that are all from Atlantic City.”

Details about the layout and presentation of Dougherty’s Steakhouse and Raw Bar will come later. Giannantonio said he wanted some of it to be a surprise. But, he promised something “really special,” that will be “a really nice addition to the property.”

Morris Bailey + Atlantic City =love

From the onset of COVID-19, Resorts owner Morris Bailey decided to invest in the health and safety of guests and employees, Giannantonio said. Resorts installed a bipolar ionization system to clean the air and purchased ultraviolet lights to disinfect high-traffic areas. 

Neither investment was particularly cost-efficient. But penny-pinching is not part of Bailey’s strategy, Giannantonio said.

“Not many people would put (that level of investment) into their buildings,” he said. “But (Bailey) is because he loves Atlantic City, he loves our property, loves our employees and our customers. And he wants to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure we provide the safest experience possible.”

Doing it the right way

Since acquiring Resorts in 2010 for $35 million, the New York City-based real estate developer has put more than $150 million into the iconic property once known as Haddon Hall.

Recent projects include a $25 million room renovation, a $35 million price tag for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Landshark Bar and Grill, $5 million for an expanded conference center and several millions more on the construction of the DraftKings Sportsbook.

“Well, we certainly believe in Atlantic City,” Giannantonio said. “Morris and his family made this investment in the market, one to resurrect a property that he really loves, but, two, to do it the right way.”

Resorts has more in the works

COVID-19 modified Resorts’ capital strategy “in a big way,” Giannantonio said. However, Resorts has made clear the pandemic will not hinder progress.

“It’s certainly the most difficult experience that I’ve ever been through in 30-plus years of being in gaming,” the Resorts CEO said. “(But) we deploy capital when we feel it’ll be the most useful (and) in preparation for what we believe are brighter days.”

In addition to the dining concept opening this spring, Resorts also plans to unveil a new electronic table game area sometime around Memorial Day.

“It’s for the benefit of our customers,” Giannantonio said while teasing the project’s location adjacent to the DraftKings Sportsbook, high-limit slot room and player’s lounge. “It’s going to be very convenient.”

Photo by AP/Mel Evans
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David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.

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