Atlantic City's two newest casinos both open a day early

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort will test city's slow economic recovery

David Madden
June 27, 2018 - 8:42 pm
Hard Rock Cafe

David Madden | KYW Newsradio

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Gamblers down the shore got a one-day head start at two new places to lay down their bets as New Jersey regulators approved the Hard Rock Hotel Casino and Ocean Resort Casino for gaming after two days of practice play.

Both facilities opened their casinos to the general public within hours of getting permission from the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

There are still grand opening events planned at both hotels at the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk on Thursday.

The Hard Rock opens inside the former Trump Taj Mahal, while the Ocean Resort is reviving the old Revel. Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, suggests both will be embraced, at least in the short term.

"These are two very different properties and are going to be bringing in two very different market segments," Pandit noted. 

The Hard Rock has a vast loyalty program for players, while Ocean's hookup with Hyatt also looms large, particularly with those at the luxury end of things. 

Of course, Atlantic City has been trying to diversify with lots of non-gaming options like shopping and entertainment, and these new facilities will offer a lot of both. 

Officials will cut a ribbon at Ocean and smash guitars at the Hard Rock. That, in itself, demonstrates the difference in approach between the two. 

Some business experts suggest bringing the total number of casinos to nine might not be best for the local economy, although they are adding 6,000 jobs. Pandit disagrees.

"There may be some cross-pollination, is what I'd like to say in terms of visitors going from one property to the other," he added. "But that's the norm in any new market."

Bottom line: He predicts Hard Rock and Ocean will together boost the total number of visitors enough that the seven other casinos will take a minimal hit, if any at all.