Atlantic City’s new Hard Rock-branded casino will open at the end of June with a star-studded lineup of musical entertainment.
On Wednesday, Hard Rock International (HRI) chairman/CEO Jim Allen announced that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will open to the public on June 28. The announcement was made simultaneously at events in AC, New York and Philadelphia.
HRI acquired the former Trump Taj Mahal casino from owner Carl Icahn in March 2017 and promptly embarked upon a $500m refurbishment to (a) incorporate the company’s music-themed sensibilities and (b) strip the property of the tacky ‘minarets and purple’ identity so beloved by the current occupant of the White House.
HRI’s Allen claimed the remodeled property’s grand opening “will set the tone for a new era of entertainment in Atlantic City.” Allen claimed the company “had a different view point” when it chose to enter the AC market, saying “it’s not about gaming, it’s about entertainment.”
The property’s Etess Arena venue has been rechristened the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena, and it plans to host 200 nights of music and comedy events per year, including Amy Schumer, Kid Rock, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Third Eye Blind, Trace Adkins and conservative icon Ted Nugent, who may have harsh words from the stage about anyone daring to remove his bestest buddy Donald Trump’s name from any building.
Entertainment is being touted as the new property’s main draw, but it will also feature over 2,100 slot machines and 120 gaming tables, while HRI has teamed with Gaming Innovation Group to power the casino’s online gambling operations, assuming the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement approves HRI’s online license application.
While New Jersey’s online gambling market is thriving, AC’s seven existing land-based operators have grown accustomed to higher profitability due to the market having lost five land-based competitors since 2014. Fears are high that the Hard Rock venue – and the new Ocean Resort Casino – will dilute those profits without significantly growing the overall market’s revenue. Watch this space.