With Costly Renovations Afoot At AC Casinos, Some Wonder If It’s Too Late

Two of the most successful casino resorts in Atlantic City are beginning to undergo massive renovations. On Thursday, January 28, Tropicana announced that the thirty-five year old casino will begin renovations costing $25 million.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the resort which will undergo significant changes is the Havana Tower, where all 500 rooms will be renovated. The South Tower will go through a complete redesign, and space by the Palm Walk will be used to create a new high limit section. This the second time in the past two years that the Tropicana will invest in a makeover. In 2015, the resort spent $50 million on renovations.

Tony Rodio, President and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment, was quoted in the company’s press release and conveyed confidence in the future of the New Jersey casino:

“We are committed to delivering on our promise to offer MORE to our guests and more to the City of Atlantic City. Tropicana recognizes the importance of continuing to invest in both our gaming and nongaming amenities.

These renovations are not only attractive upgrades for Tropicana’s guests; they are creating new employment opportunities at a crucial time in Atlantic City.”

Two days before the Tropicana’s announcement, the Borgata announced some upcoming projects of its own. These include a nightclub with an expected launch in spring 2016 and a brand-new conference space by fall. The NJ casino also has plans to open a new restaurant under the name of celebrity chef Michael Symon.

Furthermore, the Borgata will be remodeling a large outdoor space. The outdoor area, used once for a festival, will become a 3,200 square foot seasonal swimming pool with a nighttime outdoor lounge space. The total bill for renovations is estimated to be $50 million.

Borgata thriving despite being owed millions by Atlantic City

The $50 million that the Borgata plans on spending on the remodel seems extraordinary considering that Atlantic City has refused to pay the casino the roughly $150 million it owes in back tax refunds. Despite the unpaid tax refund, the Borgata will have no problem spending the cash to revamp its Atlantic City property.

Atlantic City’s largest and most successful casino is in the process of taking Atlantic City to court for the unpaid debt. The Borgata has faced criticism from politicians regarding the escalation of the debt to the court system.

Is it too late for casinos in Atlantic City?

Politicians and citizens of Atlantic City have not kept secret their opinions about the casino renovations; a good many have expressed the belief that it’s too little too late.

However, the upgrades show that at least some of the remaining eight Atlantic City casinos are doing well overall and that the Borgata isn’t the only place with cash to spend. Both Harrahs and Resorts have completed construction on new conference and meeting spaces recently.

Although Atlantic City has seen tough times, the gaming industry is still alive and well in the Garden State. New Jersey online gambling saw record-breaking numbers in 2015, totaling $14 million in revenue.

About the Author

Rudee Rossignol

Las Vegas-based Rudee writes about a variety of topics, all surrounding regulated U.S. online gambling. A longtime poker player, she offers an on-the-ground take on Internet gaming matters.