Showboat Launching ‘Atlantic City Fan Expo’ This Summer, Featuring Esports And More

 [toc]Showboat is banking on a totally new idea to attract visitors to the Atlantic City resort this summer.

The Atlantic City Fan Expo will launch on Memorial Day weekend at Showboat. But what exactly is the expo, and will people come to see it?

The Atlantic City Fan Expo, at glance

According to the recently live ACFX website, it seeks to provide a “geek vacation.” That might not sound like much of a selling point, but the resort has designs on attracting millennials in the doors. That makes a lot of sense, as the reopened Showboat doesn’t have a casino.

The Expo will span 150,000 square feet. What will be at the ACFX? From the website:

As an attendee, you will be able to enjoy the traditional comic and pop culture convention atmosphere with cosplay, unique cultural displays, fan-driven panels, and rare collectibles from artisans around the nation. And when you’ve had your fill of geek experience, you can enjoy a summer-time vacation on the world’s most famous Boardwalk and dip your toes into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the ultimate dream getaway for geeks, gamers, fans, and enthusiasts from around the world!

The complete contents of the expo are still a work in progress. But also featured inside and outside of the facility:

  • Esports gaming facilities
  • sandlot beer garden with live music, movies and family entertainment
  • Pop culture exhibits
  • Board games
  • Educational seminars

The Expo will only be open on weekends, through Labor Day.

Esports will be a key part of ACFX

Esports appears to be a key to what will take place at the Expo. The House of Blues theater at the Showboat will be dedicated to esports competitions and tournaments.

More from the Press of AC, in talking with Showboat owner Bart Blatstein.

“Gamers and esports is the largest sport in the world,” he said. “It crosses all lines — male, female, all languages and backgrounds.”


Blatstein said he began researching the idea of a gamer-focused project months ago, traveling to South Korea and Japan to learn more about the industry.

The announcement comes on the heels of Caesars AC hosting a major esports tournament. AC appears to be attempting to follow in Las Vegas’ footsteps as a hub for esports activity.

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Showboat shows it’s serious

Showboat is one of several casino resorts that closed during contraction in AC in 2014. But it reopened under Blatstein as just a resort, with no gaming, in July of last year.

Since then, Blatstein has shown he has real designs on turning Showboat back into a player in AC. It’s been doing well in it first year of operation under new ownership. And Blatstein proved he wasn’t content with what he had, buying up more property around the Showboat, including the Garden Pier.

While it’s not clear what, if anything, is going to happen with TEN AC (the former Revel), its next-door neighbor continues to press forward. The Expo is just the latest example of that.

About the Author

Dustin Gouker

Aside from his role as editor at, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.