Despite virus, Atlantic City casinos reinvest millions | Business
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – With COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of people who can gamble indoors and falling revenues and profits, this might not seem like the best time for Atlantic City casinos to spend a lot on renovations.
And yet, they look to a post-pandemic future where players will be looking for the latest news. They invest hundreds of millions of dollars thinking about those days.
The latest to open the corporate checkbook is Hard Rock, who told The Associated Press on Monday that he would spend $ 20 million to renovate hotel suites, open a Starbucks store, buy new slots. and table games, add a new restaurant and improve its seaside amenities.
The renovations come in a matter of weeks in which the Ocean Casino Resort announced it was spending $ 15 million on upgrades to the casino floor, as well as outdoor amenities like pools, cabanas and the beach, and Harrah’s unveiled three new restaurants, a new spa and a renovated lobby bar.
Harrah’s parent company Caesars Entertainment recently outlined details of the $ 400 million it promised New Jersey gaming regulators it would earn at its three Atlantic City casinos (Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana) during last year’s change of ownership hearings.
And Bally’s Corp. is reinvesting $ 90 million in the Atlantic City casino of the same name which it acquired from Caesars Entertainment last year.
These two investments will last three years.
And Resorts is opening a new electronic table games zone later this month with 19 terminals, and will make a “significant investment” in new slots this year and open a new restaurant.
Hard Rock is opening its wallet less than three years after spending half a billion dollars to gut the old Trump Taj Mahal casino and turn it into a Hard Rock casino resort.
And that’s the case in a market depressed by COVID-19 restrictions and the reluctance of some players and tourists to return to casinos in person. Many health and safety measures have been in place since their reopening last July, including limiting the occupancy of the casino floor to 50%.
“We need to re-energize Atlantic City,” said Hard Rock president Joe Lupo. “With declining revenues, there are only a limited number of visitors. It has become more competitive. These properties like Hard Rock, which are there for the long term, are now investing their dollars. “
For Hard Rock, most of the $ 20 million will go towards renovating 91 suites. But every hotel room in the resort will also receive new TVs and new lighting.
Sound enhancements will also be made to the casino’s Hard Rock Live concert halls at Etess Arena and Sound Waves. The meeting and convention space will be renovated, as will the indoor swimming pool.
The coronavirus outbreak caused profits to drop by more than 80% last year at Atlantic City’s nine casinos, and things would have been worse without the continued growth of internet gambling and a little help from sports betting.
But the virus won’t last forever, and when customers come back in droves, casinos want them to come to their facilities.
According to Lupo’s calculations, there are three “new” casino companies in Atlantic City: his, which opened Hard Rock in June 2018; the next 50% partnership in Ocean Casino by the Ilitch family of Detroit (Ocean opened the same day as Hard Rock); and the new Caesars Entertainment, which kept the name but took over the management of the former Eldorado Resorts in the merger last year.
“With this new investment, our businesses must ensure that their products and the experience they offer meet the needs of people, especially at a time when the city has been in decline since our reopening in July,” he said. -he declares. “We realize we have an opportunity. Constant change gives our visitors something new to look forward to, and this has always been important in Atlantic City.
It also takes into account the continued competition that surrounds it, from casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and other northeastern states that were eating away at the Atlantic City market even before the pandemic.
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