Snakebitten Showboat? Lucky Snake Arcade Takes Over Former Atlantic City Casino Floor

Lucky Snake Arcade & Sports Bar is Atlantic City’s newest attempt to offer visitors and residents entertainment options beyond gambling.

The 100,000-square-foot arcade is New Jersey’s largest, according to Bart Blatstein, CEO of Tower Investments and Showboat Hotel Atlantic City owner. Along with a planned $100 million indoor waterpark scheduled to open in 2022, Blatstein is betting Showboat thrives as a non-casino attraction on the World’s Most Famous Boardwalk.

“It’s amazing. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Blatstein said Friday evening at the Lucky Snake grand opening event. “We are bringing back families (to Atlantic City).”

Atlantic City doubling down on family entertainment with Lucky Snake

Showboat’s Lucky Snake joins the growing list of attractions in North Beach Atlantic City, a collaborative effort between three casinos and surrounding businesses to promote an area of the Boardwalk that has seen plenty of recent investment.

“We are going to become the premier family entertainment destination, not in the state, but in the region and on the East Coast,” said Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr.

Step right up and win … a vacation!

Lucky Snake Arcade features hundreds of classic and new video games. From first-person shooters and pinball machines to racing sims and interactive sports.

The arcade boasts the largest indoor carnival crane.
There is even an eSports lounge and a virtual reality machine.
A blacklight indoor 18-hole mini-golf course runs along the back wall.
Private party rooms are available, too.

Guests can win prizes that range from typical Boardwalk rewards to more high-end items, such as designer clothing, cars, or vacation packages.

Lucky Snake will hit you right in the mouth

The adjacent 25,000-square-foot sports bar rises above a lounge to one side and a dancefloor and stage on another.

The bar is surrounded by wall-size projection screens that can show several live sporting events. High-top, table, and couch seating are available.

But the centerpiece is the 20-by-20 foot boxing ring. The boxing ring will be used for training sessions, sparring demonstrations, and “big-ticket” live fights.

Former NBA player and reality TV personality Lamar Odom will fight pop-singer Aaron Carter on June 11. Rapper/actor Ice T will serve as celebrity emcee.

Not done at Showboat

Blatstein bought the Showboat for roughly $23 million after the hotel had already ceased being a casino. Caesars Entertainment closed Showboat in 2014.

For a brief period, Blatstein was insistent on bringing gambling back to Showboat. He floated the idea of constructing an adjoining casino to circumvent a 10-year deed restriction prohibiting gambling at Showboat.
But, it appears the Philadelphia-based developer has embraced family entertainment instead.

Lucky Snake Arcade & Sports Bar and the proposed $100 million water park are in addition to a planned 60,000-square-foot beach bar and outdoor concert venue.

Showboat also converted an entire hotel tower into residential rental units.

The hottest spot in AC? North Beach

North Beach, created in 2019, showcases a nearly forgotten area of the AC Boardwalk.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Ocean Casino Resort, and Resorts Casino Hotel teamed up with Showboat, Steel Pier, Absecon Lighthouse, and the Orange Loop (Tennessee Avenue/New York Avenue/St. James Place) businesses to create a go-to destination in the city.

Breaking down the North Beach AC spending spree

Nearly $1 billion in private and public capital has been spent in that area since 2015. The three casinos alone are responsible for more than $850 million of spending.

The $14 million Observation Wheel on the Steel Pier opened in 2017. An $85 million, 250-unit luxury residential complex called 600 NoBe opened in 2019.

The Boardwalk extension and beach replenishment projects totaled almost $63 million.

The Orange Loop features several new businesses, including Bourre, Tennesse Avenue Beer Hall, Rhythm & Spirits, and Hayday Coffee. The newbies compliment AC institutions on those beach blocks, such as the Irish Pub and Pic-a-Lilli Pub.

Photo by David Danzis 

About the Author

David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.