While the city is busy basking in the glow of two new casinos, there is still plenty of work to be done.
Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino may have opened their doors a day early, but that doesn’t mean the renovations are complete.
NJ sports betting and the new casinos
The most anticipated unfinished project in both casinos is the sportsbook. New Jersey hosted the ceremonial first sports bet at Monmouth Park in June. Since then, casinos are racing to get their NJ sports betting operations ready.
The same is true for Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort.
A sportsbook at Hard Rock AC? Maybe
Ocean Resort was committed to opening a sports book from day one. Hard Rock Atlantic City was ambiguous about its plans right up until the grand opening.
Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen confirmed just before the Guitar Smash that sports betting was in the cards for the property and details would be coming soon.
Just this week, PlayNJ.com learned Hard Rock partnered with bet365 Group.
The partnership is unconfirmed, but it appears the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement issued a temporary approval of the association. Additionally, there is no information as to how the partnership will work.
Questions remain whether bet365 will operate Hard Rock’s live or mobile sports betting.
There are no signs of a physical sportsbook on the property yet. Expect another project to get underway soon at Hard Rock Atlantic City if the wind blows that way.
Ocean Resort Casino is in the game
Ocean Resort, on the other hand, has one sports betting window, a William Hill branded sports bar, and some mighty big TVs.
A temporary sportsbook is in place. And there are curtains blocking the view of the new state-of-the-art sportsbook as construction continues.
PlayNJ.com’s Eric Ramsey was on site during the property’s grand opening and reported that the sportsbook is a work in progress.
The bar and betting window are the only parts of @TheOceanAC sportsbook open so far. Large seating areas under construction on both sides of the walkway in the background. pic.twitter.com/vbLj544K5L
— Eric Ramsey (@Eric_Ramsey) June 28, 2018
Ramsey observed “many large, semi-circular booths waiting to be installed.” Chances are the sportsbook will be complete in the next six weeks, so get your betting money ready.
More dining options to come
Both Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino offer a variety of eateries ranging from casual to fine dining and buffets to several-course experiences.
There is no shortage of dining options at either property, and there is more to come.
In mid-July, visitors to the Hard Rock can enjoy “The Most Instagrammed Restaurant in the United States,” Sugar Factory. It is world-famous for its over-the-top desserts including its signature 64-oz. alcohol-infused smoking candy goblets.
At Ocean Resort, fans of Mark and Donnie Wahlberg are eagerly awaiting the opening of Wahlburgers. Wahlburgers will be opening its latest upscale burger joint soon on the property.
Mark Wahlberg will also be opening an “Entourage” inspired lounge in the near future. As a producer of the hit HBO-series, Wahlberg is thrilled to continue its legacy with the first Entourage lounge.
Fine tuning and finishing touches
It is practically impossible to undertake a massive renovation project and have everything in perfect working order on opening day.
Most of the remaining to-do list at Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort Casino involves finishing the guest rooms, touch-ups around the hotel, and the general maintenance that a vast casino hotel requires.
Sometimes, a business has to open to become aware of something that is missing or learn what didn’t get installed just right.
Now that Hard Rock and Ocean Resort are open, Atlantic City can breathe a little sigh of relief. It’s easy to overlook the little things now that two of the five closed casinos are back open for business.
Nothing can ruin the celebratory feeling. Not when thousands of workers are back on the job, and hundreds of thousands of visitors are visiting the Boardwalk.
Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino aren’t going anywhere.