The newest playground in Atlantic City doesn’t have a sandbox, a swing, or some slides in it. Rather, it’s a towering and opulent structure that’s fixing to dominate more than just the Atlantic City landscape.
Revel Entertainment Group officially opened the doors to the AC’s newest casino resort, Revel, for three-invitation-only trial days leading up to an eight-week preview run beginning this coming Monday before making its grand opening on May 25. Despite a number of glitches and stumbling blocks, the $2.4 billion megaresort, which sits on a 6.3-million-squre-foot lot on the eastern end of the Boardwalk next to Showboat Atlantic City, finally welcomed invited guests to give the resort a trial run of sorts before it opens its doors to the public next week.
More than just being the 12th casino to open in Atlantic City and the first to do so since Borgata in 2003, Revel is being touted as the resort that could jump start the AC’s floundering reputation and re-shape the town’s gaming industry in the future.
That much was laid out when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took time out of his busy schedule to pay Revel a visit, saying that the resort could be a “catalyst” that could help Atlantic City reclaim some of the luster it has lost in previous years.
Christie, who played a key role in bringing the entire project to life despite a myriad of issues that fell its way, has made no bones about his desire to resuscitate Atlantic City, even going as far as inviting the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, to perform as the final act of Revel’s growing summer concert season.
But for all the good vibes that Revel’s opening is generating in the midst of Atlantic City’s continued rehabilitation, other state lawmakers were quick to point out that it was high time to build gambling sites outside the AC. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver spoke out and announced that legislative hearings are in order to bring gambling to the Meadowlands, saying that North Jersey should start getting a piece of the state’s proverbial gambling pie.
In a news release, Oliver said: “We need to at least discuss the idea of bringing casino-style gambling to the Meadowlands.”
According to Oliver, the Meadowlands offers an intriguing location for a new gambling site and has urged the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee to exhaust all possibilities to determine whether gambling at the Meadowlands could not only create jobs of local residents, but also look into the feasibility of luring back gamblers that don’t see New Jersey as a prime gambling state anymore.
“These are benefits worth exploring further,” she said.
Not surprisingly, Oliver’s comments immediately drew the ire of Christie, as well as Senate President Stephen Sweeney, with the latter saying in a news release that the focus “must remain with Atlantic City to continue its revitalization and its comeback.”
“This is too critical a moment to divert our attention and our resources to the Meadowlands when we are on the cusp of Atlantic City’s resurgence,” Sweeney said.
While all of this might just be a case of bad timing on Oliver’s part, what’s important is that Revel is well on its way to having its full roll-out on May 25, just ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend. In addition to carrying luxurious amenities, world-class amenities, a truckload of gambling opportunities and as Christie says, “a front row seat to the Atlantic Ocean and its spectacular views”, Revel is poised to become the kind of magnificent symbol of hope that Atlantic City has sorely needed in recent years.