Consider it the Atlantic City version of an arms race.

This past week, history-rich Showboat Atlantic City unveiled major upgrades to its facility, including the addition of 479 guest rooms, a renovated restaurant, and several other amenity upgrades.

NJ.com posted several photos and videos of the upgrades, including guest rooms, several restaurants, and a fitness room.

A few upgrades in process at Showboat Atlantic City

Among the renovations and updates the Showboat completed are, as mentioned earlier, 470 guest rooms that, according to available photos and videos, feature a new color palette that includes purple and gold.

NJ.com noted that the hotel built a 3,200-square-foot arcade and a new fitness area that, at 14,000 square feet, is the largest such facility in Atlantic City.

Showboat also unveiled a smoothie bar and a completely redone restaurant as well.

Showboat’s upgrades a necessary move

All of these changes are evidence that Showboat owner Bart Blatstein was not willing to watch his hotel hide in the literal shadows of the Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. The new properties sit on both sides of the Showboat.

While there was no official word from Blatstein or the hotel about its motive behind the renovations, one only has to look at the date in which those renovated areas of the hotel were all open to the public: June 28, the day that Hard Rock and Ocean Resort officially opened.

The property’s launch of its updates didn’t grab quite the headlines — if any — but it did point to a bigger concept.

Atlantic City casinos will do what they need to survive in an era where nine casinos are fighting for gambling dollars that were, just a few years ago, not enough to sustain 12 properties.

Showboat rooms cheaper, offer non-smoking options

Blatstein’s Showboat certainly doesn’t have the glamour of Hard Rock Atlantic City or the modern sheen of Ocean Resort. It also doesn’t have a casino floor, which closed in 2014 before the property was sold to Blatstein.

But what it lacks in aesthetic prowess and brand influence it has tried to make up for in the form of a family-friendly hotel with a formidable arcade and a more affordable stay.

A weekend booking in July for two adults and one child at the Showboat was $279 a night at the time of publishing. Of note is that the hotel offers non-smoking rooms.

The same reservation at Ocean Resort was $369; rooms are smoking rooms, certainly a drawback for families. A room for two adults and a child at Hard Rock AC averaged $404 per night with non-smoking options.

Competition among casinos equals wins for customers

As Showboat, Hard Rock, and Ocean Resort push to attract gamblers and lodgers through upgraded facilities and unique amenities, visitors seem to be the ones who win out.

For example, Ocean Resort Casino is home to the world’s biggest Topgolf Swing Suite, an 11-bay facility that features a lounge area and a bar.

Hard Rock’s Mark G. Etess Arena will be the site of many big-name concerts in the future, not the least of which was Carrie Underwood’s opening-weekend performance.

And the Showboat Atlantic City has its unique amenities, too. So while it can’t boast a casino floor, it still hopes to carve out its own niche in the new Atlantic City market.

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.