Four of them ceased operations in 2014 and a fifth closed in 2016. At least one of those properties is now a non-gaming hotel and two others have plans to open under different names. Several plans for the other two have been thrown at the wall, but none have stuck.
Below you’ll find brief histories of all 12 casinos in Atlantic City and an explanation of where they are today.
Operating New Jersey casinos
Bally’s Atlantic City opened in 1979 at the corner of Park Place and the Boardwalk. The property features two casinos with over 220,000 square feet of gaming space and more than 5,000 slot machines. It is one of three Atlantic City casino properties owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, including Caesars and Harrah’s.
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa opened in Atlantic City in 2003. It has been the market’s top-grossing casino property ever since. Borgata was originally a partnership between MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming. MGM bought out Boyd’s 50 percent interest in 2016.
The property features a 2,000-room hotel and a 161,000-square-foot casino with close to 3,500 slot machines and more than 250 table games. It is also home to the premier poker room on the East Coast.
The Water Club at Borgata, an 800-room boutique hotel, was added in 2008.
Caesars Atlantic City
Caesars Atlantic City first opened as the Boardwalk Regency in Atlantic City in 1979. The company bought an 11-story Howard Johnson’s Regency Motor Hotel on the property and renovated it to include seven more floors and a 52,000 square foot casino. When it opened, it was just the second legal casino in Atlantic City.
In 1983, the company added the name Caesars and it became Caesars Boardwalk Regency. In 1987, Caesars renamed the property Caesars Atlantic City. The casino expanded its gaming floor and added two more hotel towers over the next 20 years.
The property now has more than 1,100 rooms and 145,000 square feet of gaming space, featuring more than 3,000 slot machines and 135 table games.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Golden Nugget Atlantic City was originally built by Hilton Hotels. As construction was wrapping up, the company was denied a gambling license. It sold the complex to partner Donald Trump and the property opened in 1985 as Trump’s Castle. Trump renamed it Trump Marina in 1997.
Houston-based hospitality and entertainment company Landry’s, Inc. bought the property in 2011. Landry’s changed its name to Golden Nugget Atlantic City and spent $150 million renovating.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City now contains almost 75,000 square feet of gaming space and 728 hotel rooms.
Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City was the Atlantic City Marina District’s original hotel and casino. It is also the flagship property under the Harrah’s brand.
The property opened in November 1980 as Harrah’s Marina Resort. It was the first casino in Atlantic City not on the Boardwalk.
It opened with a 506-room Harbor Tower. A new all-suite Atrium Tower premiered in 1986. In 1997, the property constructed the 16-story Marina Tower. In 2002, the 25-story Bayview Tower debuted. Finally, in 2008 came the addition of the Waterfront Tower, along with a new pool and spa.
The casino has been expanded to feature 177,000 square feet of gaming space, with more than 5,500 slots and video poker games. It also has close to 140 table games and a 40-table poker room.
Resorts Casino Hotel became Atlantic City’s first legal casino when it opened in May 1978. It was originally built on land that housed two three-story wooden Quaker rooming houses. The casino and hotel grew in 2004 with the addition of a 27-story hotel tower.
Renovations in 2011 saw Resorts converted to a Roaring Twenties-themed property. Resorts now boasts 80,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,500 slot machines and 70 table games.
The bones of the Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City are made up of the original Ambassador Hotel built back in 1919. The historic hotel closed in the early 1970s. Ramada bought it in 1978. In 1981, Ramada rebuilt the property into Tropicana Atlantic City, a 521-room hotel and casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
Tropicana expanded with a second hotel tower and an amusement center called Tivoli Pier in 1988. The property changed its name to Tropworld Casino and Entertainment Resort. In 1996, a new 604-room hotel tower opened, Tivoli Pier closed, and the entire property was renovated. It then took on the name Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City.
The property underwent further expansion and more renovations in 2004. At that time, The Quarter at Tropicana, an old-Havana themed shopping mall, opened up.
The Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City now boasts three floors of gaming with more than 3,000 slot machines and 135 table games. There are also some 2,400 hotel rooms on the property. Plus, Tropicana Entertainment recently acquired The Chelsea, a 330-room boutique hotel next door.
New Atlantic City casinos
Ocean Resort Casino
Plans to build the Revel Casino Resort on the Atlantic City Boardwalk property across from the Showboat Casino Hotel began in 2007. A $2 billion casino hotel with two-700-foot towers was expected to be completed in 2010. Financial troubles and construction slowdowns plagued the project and the opening date was pushed back several times.
Revel opened on April 2, 2012. Operators filed for bankruptcy within a year. The hotel and casino shut down in September 2014. Florida developer Glenn Straub bought it out of bankruptcy court for $82 million in 2015. Straub had difficulties obtaining the necessary state and local permits to reopen. After rebranding the property TEN, he pushed back relaunch dates several times.
At one time, the property contained 1,400 hotel rooms and as much as 130,000 square feet of gaming floor space.
In late 2017, rumors started to churn that Straub was considering selling the former Revel. Those rumors proved to be true when in January 2018, word came that the casino had been sold to Colorado developer AC Ocean Walk.
Hard Rock AC (Trump Taj Mahal)
Built at a cost of over $1 billion, Trump Taj Mahal first opened in 1990 and was the largest casino in the world at the time. It was the top-grossing casino in Atlantic City prior to the opening of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2003. However, Trump Taj Mahal went through numerous bankruptcy proceedings and ownership changes over its more than 25 years in operation.
Trump Taj Mahal closed down on Oct. 10, 2016, in the middle of a labor dispute.
The property was sold to Hard Rock International in 2017 went through a $500 million renovation. It reopened as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in June 2018.
Repurposed casino properties in AC
Showboat Atlantic City
The Showboat Hotel, Casino and Bowling Center opened in March 1987 featuring a 60,000-square-foot casino and a 60-lane bowling alley. A renovation in 1995 brought in a Mardi Gras theme. In 1998, Harrah’s Entertainment bought Showboat’s parent company and took ownership.
The casino converted the bowling alley into a buffet in 2001. In 2003, it built another hotel tower remodeled the original. In 2004, it constructed a third hotel tower. That same year, Harrah’s Entertainment became Caesars Entertainment and made plans to close and sell the casino. Caesars shuttered the Showboat on Aug. 31, 2014, after failing to find a buyer.
Richard Stockton College bought the property with plans to turn it into a college campus but later sold to Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein. It reopened as a non-gaming hotel in July 2016.
New Jersey casinos closed for good?
The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel
The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel was Atlantic City’s original Golden Nugget. In fact, it opened up as the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in 1980. Bally Manufacturing acquired the casino in 1987 and changed the name to Bally’s Grand Hotel and Casino.
Hilton Hotels Corporation bought Bally in 1998 and renamed the property Atlantic City Hilton.
In 2005, Resorts International Holdings bought the casino and ran Resorts Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Hilton for the next four years as a single entity.
The Hilton name was removed in June 2011 and it became the ACH Casino Resort. It was rebranded and renamed The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in 2012.
The casino shut its doors on Jan. 13, 2014. Caesars Entertainment bought the property and Tropicana obtained all the gaming equipment. However, Caesars Entertainment sold the property to TJM Properties in 2014. TJM made plans to reopen it as a non-gaming property.
The company announced in 2017 another developer would be purchasing the property and turning it into an indoor waterpark. The financing for this project ultimately fell through.
Harrah’s at Trump Plaza was the biggest casino in Atlantic City history when it opened in May 1984. It was a joint partnership between Donald Trump and Holiday Inn‘s gaming division Harrah’s. It originally featured 614 rooms and a 60,000 square foot casino.
When Trump opened Trump Castle, Harrah’s claimed it was a conflict of interest. Trump bought out Harrah’s interest in the property and rechristened it Trump Plaza.
The property went through a bankruptcy in 1992 and Trump’s publicly traded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts took ownership. Trump added a new hotel tower in 1996.
In 2011, the renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts announced it was looking to sell or find a financing partner for a renovation. The company could not find a buyer and Trump Plaza shut down in September 2014.
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