Atlantic City casinos are ready to tip-off March Madness after missing their shot in 2020.
The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins March 18.
The start of this year’s Big Dance is nearly a year to the day when everything changed for Atlantic City casinos.
On March 16, 2020, the nine gambling parlors were ordered to close to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
‘What a difference a year makes’ in Atlantic City
In a news release, Casino Association of New Jersey President Steve Callender remarked, “What a difference a year makes.”
“Leading up to the basketball tournament last year, Atlantic City seemed to be unstoppable,” said Callender, regional president for Caesars Entertainment Inc. “We were on a 21-month winning streak of revenue growth, our sportsbooks topped Nevada’s, and our diverse offerings were attracting new visitors. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the National College Basketball Championship was canceled, stay-at-home orders were issued and our casinos were closed for almost four months.”
Callendar went on to highlight the stringent health and safety protocols implemented by Atlantic City casinos since reopening last summer. Mandatory masks, temperature checks, an indoor smoking ban, and social distancing measures are among the policies in place.
One Year into the COVID-19 Pandemic, Atlantic City is Ready for the Return of the National College Basketball Championship Tournament. Read more: https://t.co/6mHOLPLnzy
— Casino Association of NJ (@CasinosNJ) March 15, 2021
As fans finalize their brackets, Atlantic City casinos will be hosting various events in addition to offering room and meal specials.
“We look forward to providing a sense of normalcy for our guests during this difficult time while continuing to prioritize their health and safety through continued enforcement of mask and social distancing requirements,” Callendar said.
What Atlantic City casinos are planning for March Madness
Here’s a rundown of what all nine Atlantic City casinos are offering for the NCAA Tournament’s opening weekend.
Bally’s Atlantic City
Talk about making a big statement. Just in time for March Madness betting, the permanent FanDuel Sportsbook at Bally’s AC is now open.
It features a central 25-foot LED video wall flanked by two 10-foot LED video walls on either side and 10 video displays.
There are five betting windows and 20 self-serve kiosks.
Pub-style fare along with an iPourIt self-service beer wall will satisfy the food and drink cravings.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
There are three locations to watch the games and put down tournament wagers: BetMGM Sportsbook and Bar; BetMGM Race and Sportsbook, or the Borgata Event Center.
The BetMGM book opens daily at 9 a.m. The sports bar features a 40-foot wide by 11.5-foot tall LED video wall
Three betting windows and two full-service bars will be open in the Event Center.
First come first served viewing is also available at the B Bar, Lobby Bar, and Long Bar.
Caesars Atlantic City
The William Hill Sportsbook at the Wild Wild West casino is AC’s largest sports betting space (over 15,000 square feet). The centerpiece is the 98 foot by 18 foot, high-resolution LED television wall with surround sound.
The big change here is it’s now part of Caesars Atlantic City. And for those looking to make it an extended stay, there are discounted midweek room rates.
The book will be offering drink specials ranging from themed cocktails such as the Coco Palmer, Alley Oop! and Time Out, $24 Mix N’ Match, and $75 buckets of beer.
Guests can reserve high-top tables, a fan cave, or other seats.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
The Sportsbook has more than 50 televisions with a betting counter and self-serve kiosks.
Guests can book a private table at the Rush Lounge, just steps away from The Sportsbook.
Golden Nugget will have $20 beer buckets and $5 shot specials during all games.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
The property is doing things a little differently with a pop-up space n the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena tunnel. Customers can watch the games on the big-screen TVs and taking advantage of iGaming activations. The sportsbook lounge will be open to watch and wager, too.
Hard Rock will be showing the games on 140 screens across the property.
Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
The William Hill Sportsbook at Harrah’s features high-quality resolution LED televisions and extra plush seating. As far as NCAA Tournament drink specials go, there is the Mix N’Match ($24), Pitcher it Up! ($40), Tailgaters (12 for $75), and Mini Tailgaters (6 for $36).
Additionally, guests can reserve their stadium seating starting at $60. Fan Caves are $500 and include food and two buckets of beer or hard seltzer.
Ocean Casino Resort
The William Hill Sportsbook at Ocean is 7,500 square feet, which sits at the center of the casino floor, features panoramic video wall technology.
Ocean Casino Resort’s Madness Zone is offering three unique venues to watch, bet, eat and drink all weekend long.
Full-day and half-day ticketed reservations are available across the William Hill Sportsbook, The Den at Ocean, and Topgolf Swing Suite.
Resorts Casino Hotel
The DraftKings Sportsbook features ultra HD LED video walls, 18 kiosks, and five betting windows.
Resorts is offering prizes and drink specials including Spin the Prize Wheel for a chance at DraftKings prizes, slot cash, or comps from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 19.
The March Mania Room Package for $129 includes a $40 dining credit, $25 table game free bet, DraftKings t-shirt, and 2 p.m. late check out.
Tropicana Atlantic City
The William Hill Sportsbook, which is located next to Chickie’s and Pete’s, is 5,000 square feet and includes large video displays and plenty of seating.
For March Madness, customers can order buckets of beer ($30 domestic, $35 imported) and $28 pitchers of beer.
Room rates start at $57.
AP Photo/Wayne Parry