Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
The weather didn’t cooperate with much sunshine or warm temperatures Memorial Day weekend but despite the loss of some visitors because it was not beach-worthy weather, the long weekend still provided a solid kick-off for another summer with Atlantic City on the brink.
The naysayers love to trash our town, and although some of the criticism is justified, Atlantic City is a city with a lot of boxing history and like any underdog, the collective town mindset is to take the punches and a knockdown or two and get up swinging. The biggest blow was Hurricane Sandy of course, with the usual jabs coming via the monthly reports on the city’s dwindling gaming revenues.
Gov. Christie at the Margaritaville opening.
The town was doing so well for so long it ignored the signs when it starting taking a few economic blows as Philadelphia and Delaware added casinos. The town’s footwork wasn’t quick enough to expand its non-gaming amenities in time to completely stop the bleeding.
Now however, the non-gaming amenities are punching back. The openings last week of Margaritaville at Resorts, Haven Nightclub at Golden Nugget and HQ Beach Club at Revel were three prime examples of non-gaming additions that should be very successful beyond their busy opening weekends.
In particular Margaritaville has brought a whole new vibe to the city’s oldest casino, and with the legendary Parrotheads flocking to hang out there, Resorts is ready for a serious comeback.
Even the left-in-limbo Trump Plaza will draw patrons this summer with the opening of its popular and centrally located Beach Bar and the return of live entertainment in the showroom with Beatlemania Now opening July 2.
Don’t kill off Revel yet either. Officially out of bankruptcy last week, the casino just opening a restaurant, Relish, to give visitors a less expensive option on one hand and on the other hand, gave its high rollers the Pearl Lounge for its exclusive use to gamble and relax with free food and hi-def TVs.
Unfortunately, Revel had to give in to all the critics who said that the casino couldn’t afford to be smoke free, and smoking is now permitted in certain areas of the casino. Those who loved Revel because of the smoke free environment might walk away in a huff, but Revel is betting that the gamblers who smoke will more than make up the difference. That said, the only gambling/smoking survey conducted to date shows that in general gamblers in Nevada are only slightly more likely to smoke, 21.5 percent vs. 20.9 percent in the United States at large.
(L to R) Marcel Forestieri, winner Jim Barone, Andy Svrcek from the 2012 contest.
I’m happy to report that I have been asked back for a second time as a judge for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist preliminary contest taking place at Bally’s Legends in Concert Theater on Saturday, June 15, 7pm.
Tickets are the same price as the Legends in Concert show, $32.50 per adult and $16.25 per child (3-16). Expect about 12 to 15 Elvis tribute artists to be “All Shook Up” as they battle for a slot in the finals in Memphis in August.