The countdown is on.
The celebration of all celebrations is about to hit Atlantic City. On June 28, two shuttered casinos will be shuttered no more.
Hard Rock AC announced its opening date first, and Ocean Resort announced the same opening date soon after. Both casinos opening on the same day will mark the beginning of Atlantic City’s revitalization after several years of financial struggles.
In addition to the two casinos opening, Resorts Atlantic City will be celebrating 40 years on the Boardwalk and Borgata will celebrate 15. Visitors can bet the other casinos will be trying to keep up, which makes everyone a winner.
Here is a highlight of what lucky guests can expect when joining the grand opening festivities.
What to do and what to see on opening weekend in Atlantic City
1. The pomp and circumstance
All eyes have been on the two new hotels and their plans for the official grand opening.
Hard Rock Atlantic City is planning to host its world-famous Guitar Smash to signal it is open for business. Hard Rock officials and local dignitaries will take to the stage and smash guitars as a tribute to Hard Rock’s connection to the music industry.
Ocean Resort hasn’t released its ribbon cutting plans yet, but be assured something is in the works.
2. Live entertainment
Hard Rock Atlantic City is pulling out all the stops on its opening weekend entertainment lineup.
Carrie Underwood and Pitbull are set to take the stage at the Mark G. Etess Arena on June 29 and June 30, respectively.
Ocean Resort Casino’s HQ2 Nightclub and Beachclub will host Grammy award-winning DJ Diplo on June 29. Guests can also find Kaskade and Jermaine Dupri on June 30 and Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano on July 1.
You can also find Michael Che, Kiss My Burlesque Show, Dirty Dancing on Stage and the Atlantic City Comedy Club taking the stage during the weekend.
3. Place your bets
Ocean Resort Casino has promised a state-of-the-art sportsbook, and it is delivering it with the help of William Hill. Look no further than the heart of the casino floor to place your bets and watch your favorite World Cup team.
sportsbook is different; circular layout in the middle of the casino floor pic.twitter.com/G3DJX3Iq1i
— Ed Barkowitz (@edbarkowitz) June 12, 2018
There is one slight problem with Ocean Resort’s sports betting plans — the casino doesn’t have a casino license yet. In order to have its license prior to opening day, a special session of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission might be required. There are no regular meetings scheduled before June 28.
Ocean Resort doesn’t seem too concerned, posting on Facebook in response to an inquiry about its license:
Hi, all – There is no reason for any concern. We will be open on June 28th. Our team is in close contact with gaming officials. We look forward to welcoming you all to Ocean. Thank you and have a great rest of your weekend!
Hard Rock Atlantic City hasn’t released its sportsbook plans as of yet. If a sportsbook is in the cards, it will most likely happen after opening day.
4. Playing around town
Getting out and about on the town might be a nice break from all the hubbub of activity. Atlantic City has plenty of non-casino activities for visitors.
Make some time to check out:
- Absecon Lighthouse
- Atlantic City Aquarium Historic Gardner’s Basin
- The Observation Wheel on the Steel Pier
- Steel Pier Amusement Park
5. Strolling down the Boardwalk
No trip to Atlantic City is complete without a stroll down the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. The six-mile-long wooden walkway was built in 1870 when hotelier Alexander Boardman tried to combat the sand from entering his property.
It is the first of its kind in the US and has remained a popular tourist attraction even when five casinos stood shuttered on its path.
Now that two of those casinos are re-opening, make sure to take in the magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean and the new look of Atlantic City while strolling down the Boardwalk.
6. Parties and promotions galore
Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino are not the only ones serving up a big party for visitors. All summer long, Resorts AC and Borgata are celebrating, too.
The weekend of June 28 will almost certainly focus on the two new casinos but look no further to the longstanding stalwarts of the Boardwalk to add to your entertainment fun.
Make no mistake about it, every casino on the Boardwalk realizes grand opening weekend is their chance to woo new players into their casinos. Keep your eyes open for promotions, and don’t be afraid to saunter down the Boardwalk and see who wants your business the most.
7. Places to stay and people to see
Both Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort are offering a rewards tier match for guests with players cards from most Atlantic City casinos.
Present your card and assume an equitable tier with either casino. You may even qualify for free rooms, discounted rates, and other promotions from the very beginning.
It’s not too late to get in on the fun. Rooms are still available. Book fast, though, because they will likely sell out soon.
The most important thing you should know about the June 28 weekend on the Boardwalk is that it will be historic. It is a weekend that will replace the old with the new and will chart a new direction for Atlantic City.
It is a weekend that shouldn’t be missed.