NJ Governor Remains Optimistic On Atlantic City’s Future With Sports Betting

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the success of sports betting rejuvenated Atlantic City casinos in 2018, but he remains optimstic for AC in the future.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy owned up to his bad bets.

Nearly a year to the day after he placed the first legal bets in New Jersey at Monmouth Park, he gave the keynote speech at the 23rd annual East Coast Gaming Congress at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center.

Murphy, who signed the NJ sports betting bill into law, received a standing ovation from the audience at last week’s event.

After his welcoming remarks, he noted the first anniversary of sports betting in NJ and his two losing wagers: a $20 bet on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup and a $20 bet on Germany to win the World Cup.

But Murphy is still all-in on Atlantic City and the continued growth of sports betting.

“Across the board, we have seen significant increases in key economic indicators that show Atlantic City is up off the mat and well moving forward,” he said.

“The emergence of sports betting has played a tremendous role in the rejuvenation of our gaming industry.”

Murphy gives credit where credit is due

Atlantic City casino revenues spiked 7.5% to $2.86 billion in 2018. It marks the third year in a row for the industry coming off a decade of decline.

The first six months of sports betting yielded NJ operators almost $100 million in revenue.

But Murphy gave credit to the renewed support of key industry partners, development partners, and a strong regulatory culture for moving Atlantic City forward.

“We don’t view our agencies as just industry regulators even though that is an essential part of their jobs,” he said.

“We want our agencies to use proactive outreach to encourage regulatory product and technological innovation throughout our gaming industry. We want to be the home where the next generation of games and the technological advancement to open up the industry will be made.”

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But it’s not just gaming in AC

Murphy also stressed the importance of the work of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

The CRDA is operating with a mindset that Atlantic City’s casino gaming industry can’t fully succeed unless it finds a city that is also prospering.

The goal is to create stronger, more welcoming neighborhoods.

For example, Atlantic City is considered to be a “food desert.”

On May 30, the CRDA announced a formal request for proposal for both a grocery store developer and operator to better provide food and nutritional options to residents and families.

“We can’t just look at Atlantic City as the home of casinos and hotel properties and a wide white sandy beautiful beach,” said Murphy.

“We want this to be a diverse city with a thriving business that creates a complete draw for tourists while also providing new economic opportunities for the residents of the state who fought through some really dark times.”

Hit The Road And Enjoy A Free Toll On Your Way To Atlantic City This Weekend

If you’re heading toward AC for Memorial Day weekend, your toll will be free at the Egg Harbor exit on the Atlantic City Expressway during rush hour.

On your way to Atlantic City for Memorial Day Weekend?

Chickie’s & Pete’s hopes to turn crabby traffic-weary commuters happy.

Drivers on the Atlantic City Expressway will get free tolls between 5-6 p.m. May 24 at the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza, courtesy of Chickie’s & Pete’s.

In addition to the free tolls, Chickie’s & Pete’s is offering free family fun at Frank S. Farley Travel Plaza between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

This is the sixth year in a row Chickie’s & Pete’s will pay for tolls for travelers. It’s also in memory of CEO Pete Ciarrocchi’s military family.

“We’re excited to be back at Farley’s Plaza hosting one of our favorite annual events this year,’ said Ciarrocchi. “We love to send everyone off to the shore in good spirits before a big holiday weekend!”

Free toll honors military veterans

Ciarrocchi chose Memorial Day Weekend to pay the tolls as a way to honor his family’s military tradition.

“My dad and my uncles were all in the military,” said Ciarrocchi.

“In fact, my Uncle George, who was my restaurant mentor, won the Silver Star for bravery. He was quite the guy and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him.”

On Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of the summer, at least one million people will travel through New Jersey for the holiday.

An average of 285,000 motorists are expected to use the Atlantic City Expressway between Friday and Monday.

Free festival planned as well

But it’s more than just free tolls.

On Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Chickie’s & Pete’s and the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) will be hosting festivities at the Farley Travel Plaza. Included in the fun are free giveaways of the restaurant’s legendary Crabfries, and free samples of food and beverages from Starbucks, Hershey’s Ice Cream and Fresh Attractions.

The free samples come courtesy of the plaza’s restaurateur and operator, HMSHost.

Families will not only enjoy a chance to stretch their legs and get free food, but there will also be some entertainment.

For instance, the NJ State Police dog search and rescue team is planning a free demonstration, and the Cape May Carriage Company is also bringing a small group of Dalmatian puppies for children to meet, greet, and pet in a supervised area.

The traffic on the AC Expressway on the weekends and holidays is enough to drive anyone to the funny farm. And on Friday, there will literally be a Funny Farm, an animal rescue sanctuary that provides a home for farm and zoo animals.

Fire and rescue equipment from Atlantic City International Airport and the State Police, which operates a station at Farley Plaza, will also be displayed.

Oh, and keep your eyes to the sky for when the New Jersey State Police lands one of its helicopters.

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Save a little money for your Atlantic City trip

With the money saved on the Egg Harbor toll (and those free snacks), those on their way to Atlantic City’s casinos will have a few extra dollars to use at the slots, tables, or the sportsbooks.

Here are a few Atlantic City casino promotions for the holiday weekend:


If you’re going to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the property will mark the last few weeks of NJ sports betting at the Race & Sports Book before it goes back to a horse-racing only room.

You’ll be able to place your sports bets and get a bit more elbow room on June 29 when Borgata opens its new 8,000-square-foot Moneyline Bar & Book.

But on Saturday and Sunday, Borgata is also giving away 500 bonus slot dollars to one winner every 15 minutes from noon to 7 p.m. Players can enter by inserting their M life Rewards cards into any slot machine or opening any table games rating from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Hard Rock AC & Caesars

If you have off of work on Friday (or are calling in “sick”), you can start the holiday weekend early with Hard Rock Atlantic City’s Beat the Traffic sweepstakes. On Friday, 80 winners will be drawn between noon and 7 p.m. to win up to $1,000 in bonus free play or promo chips.

And beginning Friday, all new Caesars Rewards members will receive $10 table play, one complimentary beverage, or $10 hotel credit.

Resorts Casino

It’s not New Year’s Eve but Resorts Casino is dropping the ball.

The Sixth Annual Beach Ball Drop gets bouncing at 5 p.m. when 5,000 beach balls drop on the Boardwalk.

If guessing is your game, enter your guess for how many baseballs are in the container on the casino floor one time per day at any kiosk until May 27 for Resorts’ Guessing Game.

Then, at 6 p.m. on May 27, the 10 players who guessed closest to the actual number without going over will win $500 slot cash.

Ocean Casino

Ocean Casino Resort is running a $250,000 Mercedes Benz Giveaway from May 31-June 29.

There will be a 5X entry multiplier every Tuesday. Qualifier drawings are every Friday and Saturday between 6 and 10 p.m. Five winners every hour will receive up to $1,000 and qualify for the grand prize drawing.

And three winners will get their choice of a C300, CLA 250 or GLA 250. Entries are earned on slot and table play, but poker play is excluded.