Summer in Atlantic City, traditionally Fourth of July through Labor Day, is prime season for slots players and sports bettors alike.

And just like previous summers, the nine casinos around town are preparing for some pretty big events. Several of those events have a distinctly NJ sports betting connection.

Here are five Atlantic City events worth putting on your radar:

1. Borgata + NJ sports betting anniversary

Rewind to June 14 of last year. This, of course, is the date of the first legal sports bet in Atlantic City.

Borgata has yet to announce any special celebrations to signify the first anniversary. But the MGM-owned property does have something exciting coming this summer: an $11 million permanent sportsbook.

It’s one of three new retail spaces coming to Atlantic City (see below for the other two).  The location will be across from the current Borgata Race & Sports Book, which had a standing-room-only crowd for Kentucky Derby betting.

There is no doubt that sports betting is popular at Borgata.

Earlier in March, the Atlantic City crowd filtered into the Central Conference Center for Brackets at Borgata. It was one big March Madness betting party.

The new digs couldn’t come at a better time. The 2019 NFL season opens on Sept 5. The playMGM Sports app currently has the Chicago Bears posted as a 4-point favorite over the Green Bay Packers.

2. New sportsbooks from Bally’s + Harrah’s

Many of us have been wondering what Caesars Entertainment’s big sports betting plans are for Atlantic City.

The Las Vegas-based company did open temporary retail locations, aka The Book, at Harrah’s and Bally’s last summer.

Well, there are bigger and better things on the horizon.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, the company is close to opening not one, but two permanent retail spaces. The price tag is a combined $11 million investment.

The word from Caesars is that the Harrah’s version could have its soft launch as early as Friday, but it’s not set in stone.

Here is what we know about the space:

  • 3,800 square feet
  • High-quality resolution LED televisions spanning across the walls
  • Plush seating
  • Foodservice by AC Burger Company 
  • Private fan caves for up to 10 guests 

Going wild at the Wild Wild West

Meanwhile, the sister property, Bally’s, will soon be able to boast having Atlantic City’s biggest and possibly best sportsbook.

Slated for a soft opening in mid-June, the “immersive and socially driven experience” is so large that a couple of the nearby locations will be able to fit inside of it.

We are talking 15,228 square feet of sports betting space.

Here are a few details:

  • 102 seats (30 VIP seats)
  • Seating for 28 at the bar rail with the latest video poker slots
  • Atlantic City’s first-ever self-service beer bar with 16 different brews on tap (pending regulatory approval)

3. Coming soon: Mobile sports betting expansion

Are 13 NJ mobile sports betting apps not enough?

Don’t worry; there are many more on the horizon.

Based on recent comments from David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, we could see it expand to 20 by the start of NFL season.

Exact launch dates are still pending, and some apps still need to go through the licensing process.

But anticipate the following to hit the market soon:

4. Ocean Casino has a fresh look

In case you hadn’t heard, Ocean Casino Resort (aka Ocean Resort Casino) is sporting a casino-first mentality these days.

You may have gotten a glimpse of the new marketing campaign centered around the naming flip-flop of Ocean Casino Resort.

And, as the property closes in on its first anniversary (June 28), there are a lot of changes taking place. For one, there are new elevators:

Adding direct casino access to Ocean’s William Hill Sportsbook is a good start. But there is much more to come:

  • An additional 200 new slot machines on the casino floor.
  • New overhead music and a casino lounge that features live bands and DJs.
  • Separate smoking and nonsmoking areas.

Eric Matejevich, Ocean’s interim-CEO, expanded on the coming attractions via a press release.

“We are excited about the future of Ocean Casino Resort.

“Our new management team has made several positive operational changes and we are already seeing those results. There are more changes planned and we are committed to making significant capital improvements moving forward.”

Luxor Capital Group, the private investment firm based in New York City, is in the process of taking over the property.

5. Hard Rock celebrates one year in AC

Hard Rock Atlantic City shares the same birthday as Ocean.

It was just last summer when the two properties brought new life to what resembled a ghost town in the uptown section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

While Ocean experienced its share of turmoil and struggles in its first year, Hard Rock arrived with an international following. And a lot of brand recognition.

In terms of revenue, it sits happily in the middle of the pack.

But like anything else, don’t expect the rock ‘ n’ roll-themed property to rest on its laurels.

Along with the other eight casinos in town, it’s time to turn the AC up because summer in Atlantic City is gonna be hot.

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.