After crashing to an all-time low, Atlantic City’s gaming industry is once again on the ascent. And the remaining casinos along The Boardwalk and in the Marina District want to keep the momentum going.
Caesars focusing capital reinvestment on Harrah’s
Despite dealing with bankruptcy restructuring, Caesars has spent some $200 million in renovations and upgrades to its three Atlantic City properties during the past three years. But the bankruptcy restructuring has taken its toll, forcing Caesars to play favorites among those sites.
Most of the recent updates and upgrades have been to Harrah’s, one of the largest and best-performing New Jersey casinos. According to the Press of AC, since 2008, Caesars has spent more money on capital improvements to Harrah’s ($215 million) than to its eponymous casino and Bally’s combined ($176 million).
With Caesars’ bankruptcy reorganization now approved by the Casino Control Commission, the state is hoping the Harrah’s upgrade spirit will spread to the company’s other two properties.
The Press of AC reports that an attorney general’s filing on the bankruptcy reorganization states:
“The relatively low level of capital expenditures is, in the division’s view, one reason that the net revenues from Caesars AC and Bally’s remain well below historical levels. In the Division opinion, the projected capital expenditures for 2017 and 2018 would not be sufficient to address past deficiencies and provide a much-needed boost to their competitive positions.”
For an idea of what the parent company might have planned for Caesars and Bally’s, one simply needs to look at what Caesars has been doing across town at Harrah’s.
What’s new at Harrah’s Casino NJ?
In its latest round of enhancements, Caesars spent $30 million on the following:
- Several new restaurants;
- An overhaul its pool and nightclub, which has been rebranded as The Pool After Dark;
- Renovations and upgrades to 450 hotel rooms.
The $30 million of improvements are in addition to the $125 million Caesars spent on updating and increasing the size of the Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center. The company completed the conference center project in late 2015. It doubled the property’s meeting space, giving Harrah’s the city’s largest conference space (in a casino).
Explained Bally’s and Caesars President Kevin Ortzman and Harrah’s Regional President Rick Mazer in a joint statement:
“Building on the highly-successful openings of the Wild Wild West at Bally’s and our $125 million Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Resort, we are excited to complete our master-plan enhancement project just in time for summer, and debut our finely-appointed Bayview rooms and suites, three world-class dining experiences and an upgraded nightlife experience at Harrah’s Resort.
“Atlantic City, with its iconic beach and world-famous Boardwalk, has been a mainstay summer destination for decades, and our resorts – Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s – are committed to offering guests first-class, Vegas-style experiences – without the flight.”
The latest updates included adding several new dining options.
- C. Burger Co., which offers a modern take on classic and signature burgers and also features an extensive craft beer menu and creative, one-of-a-kind “adult” milkshakes;
- Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar, designed to encourage the ultimate social experience with shared plates and a lively, weekend boozy-brunch scene;
- Veracruz, a restaurant inspired by Mexican and Spanish street fare. It includes classic Spanish paellas, tuna tartare nachos, and a wide variety of margaritas, sangrias, and Spanish and Latin American wines; and
- Guy’s Sammich Joint, a first-of-its-kind, quick-service concept created by Food Network personality, restaurateur, and author Guy Fieri.
New pool area
Another integral part of the project was an overhaul of the Harrah’s pool-by-day and club-by-night.
According to a press release from Caesars, the pool area now features:
“… a glass-enclosed heated dome, upgraded cabanas and bungalows, a new elevated stage and DJ area, dance floor, and massive LED walls for celebrity performances.
The venue’s second floor balcony offers first-class cocktail service and gaming paired with energetic cage dancers, all with 180-degree aerial views of electric scene below. Recent A-list celebrity appearances include Paris Hilton, DJ Pauly D, Nick Cannon, Amber Rose, and countless others.”
The Pool After Dark is the fourth bar/lounge/club at Harrah’s and joins the existing:
- #BarWithNoName at Harrah’s Resort, a new lobby bar. It offers a relaxed, casual environment for hotel guests to grab a specialty drink or classic cocktail;
- Eden Lounge at Harrah’s Resort, revealing a laid-back side of Atlantic City nightlife. It features daily live entertainment with no cover charge; and
- X Bar at Harrah’s Resort, located in the middle of all the action on the casino floor.
Caesars also renovated and updated 450 rooms in the Bayview Tower.
Caesars hired the Las Vegas-based design firm Marnell Companies to re-design the 600-square-foot rooms.
According to the press release, “Bayview rooms… now feature rich hues of lavender and blue accent colors, contrasting white and gray tones, and contemporary furniture — including a vanity dressing area.”
“Freshly-appointed, modern bathrooms offer oversized showers, while select rooms also include luxurious baths and signature amenities,” the release noted.
Author’s note: I attended a conference at Harrah’s, stayed in one of the renovated Bayview rooms, attended a function at the pool, and ate several of the restaurants in May. I was impressed all around, specifically with the room and the meeting facility.[i15-table tableid=4289]
GameCo is at it again.
The new releases are additions to two other GameCo VGMs at Tropicana, Atlantic City Weekly said.
Basketball and roulette at Tropicana NJ casino
Gamblers at the Trop now have the option of playing GameCo’s Nothin’ But Net and Spread-Bet Roulette.
Nothin’ but Net
Details on Nothin’ but Net are sparse. But what we gathered from the GameCo website indicates that each round of betting involves 16 shots and can take wagers between $2 and $20.
Gamblers can choose between a male or female shooter, and all shots take place on an urban basketball court. These shots are a combination of lay-ups and jump shots from various places on the court and, like the NBA’s three-point contest, include a money ball that’s worth more points.
“Your skills will be challenged as you test your range from down-low to downtown,” GameCo’s description of the game reads. “Just don’t miss the money ball!”
A press release from Tropicana provided further details about Spread-Bet Roulette, a game that has yet to have its own page on the GameCo site.
The roulette game is basically a spread bet with payouts as big as 400-to-1. Balls are dropped on an inner and outer wheel which spin simultaneously. Before they’re dropped, though, a spread number is displayed and bet on.
When the balls stop, their corresponding numbers are added up and bettors win or lose based on their original spread bet.[i15-table tableid=4301]
Two newbies add to pair of VGMs at Trop
As we mentioned earlier, Nothin’ but Net and Spread-Bet Roulette will be added to the Trop’s pair of GameCo VGMs: Danger Arena and Pharaoh’s Secret Temple.
Danger Arena started the Atlantic City VGM craze when it debuted earlier this year. It was the first skill-based gambling terminal to appear in a United States casino.
GameCo uses the term “skill-based” to describe its games because their VGMs incorporate gaming skill into their platforms.
For example, gamblers who bet on Nothin’ but Net win their round by racking up the most points from made baskets. Those who play Danger Arena can win by shooting the most aliens during the game’s 45-60 second rounds of play.
Pharaoh’s Secret Temple works the same way, using gameplay similar to Candy Crush’s timer-based sequence challenge.
According to GameCo, the company’s VGMs offer a new sector of gaming that appeals to millennials who are tired of chance-based games like slots.
For a lot of people, the allure of gambling online is directly related to the chances of winning life-changing amounts of money.
The only way to do this in NJ in most cases is to play the progressive slots offered by New Jersey online gambling websites.
What are progressive jackpot online slots?
Progressive slots are very similar to regular slots, the main difference being the size of the maximum payout.
The jackpot increases by a small amount every time the game is played. Once the jackpot is hit by a player, it resets to a pre-designated seed amount.
The advantage of these slots is that players have the potential of winning millions of dollars. The downside is that due to money being siphoned into the jackpot, the other payouts on the machines can be very low compared to their non-progressive counterparts.
When a progressive is first seeded, the player return may be as slow as 85 percent, but as the prize increases the theoretical return goes through the roof, especially when the jackpots reach extremely high numbers. Many players like to track these jackpots via NJ online casino forums or simply by periodically checking in to see where the jackpots stand.
Which legal online casinos sites in NJ offer progressive slots?
Tropicana and Virgin
At the time of this writing, TropicanaCasino.com and its sister site VirginCasino.com offer the progressive slot Wonderland with a current jackpot of $75,664. Though this figure is low right now, it is increasing by the minute.
Borgata online casino
BorgataCasino.com links together several slot machines to create a huge progressive jackpot in its “Big Series,” which at the time of this writing sits at $1,831,874.
The great thing about linking multiple slots to the same progressive is that the jackpot increases at a much quicker rate. You also don’t get stuck playing the same boring game while trying to score big.
On BorgataCasino.com, you have the choice between four different machines:
- Loot’En Khamun
- Melon Madness
- Going Nuts
- Biker Pigs
You can play any of these slots and have a chance of hitting the Big Series jackpot.
888 online casino NJ
888Casino.com, at the time of this writing, had the biggest progressive jackpot of all the New Jersey online casinos; an astounding $2,565,928. Again, 888Casino.com is able to produce such a large jackpot because it links several machines.
You have a chance of winning this $2.5-million jackpot by playing any of the following:
- Rise of the Pharaohs
- Millionaire Genie
- Irish Riches
- Pirates Millions
HarrahsCasino.com also has a considerable jackpot at the time of this writing, with its Ultimate Genie slot paying out $873, 588.
New Jersey no deposit online casino bonus offers
If you haven’t played on many of these sites, they all offer NJ online casino welcome bonuses that will decrease the variance while you play.
VirginCasino.com and TropicanaCasino.com, in particular, offer great promotions to new players. Players receive a free $20 on either casino to try out their software.
Deposit bonuses at NJ gambling sites
Or, if players are looking to deposit funds for the first time, both Virgin and Tropicana have a $100 cash back promotion available.
Simply deposit $100 or more into your account, and if you lose it within an allotted time, the casino will refund your money up to $100. It’s a great way to get started with no risk.
Progressive slots tend to be more volatile than regular slots, and your odds of winning smaller amounts of money are much lower than non-progressive slots. But the upside in a lot of cases seems to outweigh the downside.
Sure, it would be nice to win a couple thousand dollars, but this isn’t going to change your life. For all but the richest people in the world, winning two million dollars is going to put you into a completely new financial bracket.
All online New Jersey online gambling websites offer some sort of free play and/or cash to reward their loyal players.
However, this free play and cash is mostly relegated to online play only.
What is the best online casino loyalty program in New Jersey?
One of our favorite rewards programs is the Golden Rewards Player’s Club offered at the Golden Nugget Casino, because once Golden Points are redeemed they are added directly to the patron’s cashable balance.
At many other online casinos, this bonus money is still subject to playthrough requirements.
Let’s take a look at the Golden Reward Player’s Club, how it works, and why it is one of the best in the industry.
How does Golden Nugget’s Player’s Club operate?
Golden Points can be converted into cash at a rate of $1 per 100 points or $0.01 per point.
In order to redeem points, a player must have a minimum of 100 Golden Points in their balance and they must also redeem all their points at the same time. There are no partial point redemptions allowed.
At first glance these seems like pretty steep requirements, but the Golden Nugget Casino allows players to earn points in a much larger variety of ways than many of their competitors.
- $100 wagered on slots will earn 5 Golden Points
- $100 wagered on table games, blackjack, roulette or video poker will earn 1 Golden Point
More ways you can earn Golden Points:
- Every day a real money wager is played: 10 points
- Every day the patron deposits between $50 and $99: 20 points
- Every day the patron deposits $100 or more: 40 points
As you can see, the points start piling up and just to reiterate, once Golden Points are converted to cash they can be instantly cashed out of your account without any further restrictions.
What are the loyalty programs like at NJ online poker rooms?
PokerStars, in particular, has a VIP rewards program that you will enjoy.
There are six different levels of VIP status that you earn through competing in monthly or yearly VIP Steps. The first five VIP statuses are achieved on a monthly basis (BronzeStar, ChromeStar, SilverStar, and PlatinumStar) whereas the last, Supernova, is achieved on a yearly basis.
A quick perusal of the PokerStars VIP Store will do more than we ever could to convince you of the value of the site’s VIP Club.
As you move up the ranks of the VIP club, you can not only pick up cool PokerStars merchandise, you can purchase VIP cash rebates and online tickets to the biggest and best poker tournaments New Jersey online poker has to offer.
What is the best NJ online casino VIP program with land-based rewards?
It is worth noting that the that if you are looking for an online casino that offers a direct transference of online play to its brick and mortar counterpart, Harrah’s Total Rewards program is probably the right choice for your online play.
When you play at Harrah’s, for every $20 you wager, you will receive 1 Tier Credit (TC) and 1 Online Reward Credit.
Once you link your account, your Online Tier Credits will be automatically awarded to your Total Rewards account every month. You will then gain access to all applicable benefits at Total Rewards Atlantic City properties or any other Total Rewards property.
If you play enough at Harrah’s to achieve Seven Stars status, you will receive a $500 celebration dinner, complimentary rooms, upgrades to the best available rooms at check-in, annual retreats to any Total Rewards resort or casino, invitations to events, and a congratulatory trip with Norwegian Cruise Line.
Once you achieve higher levels of reward at any of the New Jersey online casinos, you will start to earn all sorts of outstanding rewards and comps.