Thursday stands to be the most frenetic day in Atlantic City in a very long time. And Thursday is just a day away.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino will open their doors, both glamorous, event-laden destinations whose double-barreled grand openings will surely blast both properties’ previous histories into oblivion.

Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort have a full slate of events, a host of new amenities, and a lauded wave of fiscal and public energy that some say will help the city and others are worried it won’t.

Opening day at Hard Rock Atlantic City, Ocean Resort

The first casino to open, Hard Rock AC, will kick things off at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday with a traditional guitar smash. The day will feature giveaways, celebrity cameos and, according to Hard Rock AC, fireworks at 10 p.m.

Carrie Underwood will headline a sold-out show at the weekend’s festivities at Hard Rock. Her show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday at the newly expanded Mark G. Etess Arena. Pitbull is performing the following night at 8 p.m., but tickets are still available for his show.

Tiesto and Ludacris will perform at the casino’s Daer Nightclub on Friday and Saturday night, respectively, too.

Just down the Boardwalk, Ocean Resort Casino will open its doors at 1 p.m. ET. No guitar smashing, but Ocean Resort has a few special guests lined up including actor Jamie Foxx and some local dignitaries, too. If you stop by, you might just catch a glimpse of the Deifiks.

Headlining acts include Diplo at its HQ2 club. The famed DJ will perform at 10 p.m. on Friday night. Tickets are still available. Jermaine Dupri will perform Saturday night, and Ryan Marciano will perform on Sunday night.

During the day, Ocean Resort will have a variety of promotions and events running.

And Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to make an appearance at both casinos during the day, including a stop at Ocean Resort’s temporary sportsbook.

New amenities add to the excitement

Both hotels are sold out for the weekend. However, that won’t keep visitors from enjoying the various amenities.

A recent press release from Ocean Resort emphasized the hotels new dining options in addition to the world’s largest Topgolf Swing Suite.

“Guests can indulge in a variety of different dining experiences from familiar brands, including previous favorites, plus many exciting new additions,” the release noted.

Most of the restaurants will be open Thursday, June 28 for the opening celebration.

The highlight of Ocean Resort’s culinary lineup is Distrito, a taco-truck concept from Iron Chef Jose Garces serving lunch and dinner.

At Hard Rock Atlantic City, Council Oak Fish leads the way in dining options. The upscale eatery, according to Hard Rock AC, is heavily influenced by a restaurant of the same name at the Seminole Hard Rock just outside of Tampa, Fla.

“This is Council Oak’s first fish-focused restaurant, bringing guests the Northeast’s freshest catches sourced by local fishermen with an a la carte menu focused on ocean-to-table fare,” Hard Rock’s website reads, “with tableside caviar service and a fire-burning kitchen, all set in an elegant dining room inspired by the bold aesthetic of the Seminole culture.”

And that’s on top of Hard Rock’s planned 365 days of live music.

Wait, did you say 365 days of live music?

Yes, you heard that right.

Hard Rock will run a concert schedule that stretches throughout the summer and, according to a press release, will feature at least 50 live performances a week through August. More concerts will pop up throughout the year.

Dubbed 365 Live, the program includes a Sunday Jazz Brunch and Monday Night Blues performances at the new Hard Rock Cafe. In fact, shows will be at all of the casino’s stages including:

  • Council Oak Lounge
  • Boardwalk Stage
  • Beach Stage

All 365 Live shows are free and open to the public, meaning guests can just walk in from the Boardwalk to enjoy a slice of good music all year long.

A summer like no other, an opening weekend to remember

Music aside, one of the most interesting aspects of the summer will be the impact Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casino have on the Atlantic City casino industry.

There is some debate as to how the presence of two new casinos will affect the revenue numbers of competing casinos.

One of two things will most likely happen. First, there will be enough revenue to go around, such that the existing seven casinos will be able to support two new casinos.

Or, the presence of two marquee properties will pull revenue away from the city’s smaller casinos and put them in jeopardy of folding.

Bottom line, for Atlantic City and New Jersey, Thursday is going to be the start of something pretty spectacular. Get thee to the Boardwalk on Thursday!

But if you can’t, stay tuned to PlayNJ.com on Thursday for live updates as the doors open, the festivities begin, and the crowds go wild.

J.R. Duren

About

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, J.R. Duren works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.