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Ocean Casino Resort is Launching a Boatload of New Improvements

Barbara Nathan May 10, 2019
ocean casino resort ac NJ

We all know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, if something is not working as well as it could, one should fix it, or at least try. And that’s exactly what Ocean Casino Resort is doing now in a big way.

Ocean Casino Resort not only has a new principal owner, Luxor Capital Group, but a new name. Originally it was called Ocean Resort Casino, but on April 10, 2019, the property officially switched the order of the second and third words to reflect the new owner’s intention to be first and foremost, a casino.

But what good is a new name without an exciting new image to go along with it? In my January 14, 2019 article on NJ Gambling Websites entitled “Can Ocean Resort Casino Be Saved?”, I described some of the problems that might have contributed to this casino’s lackluster revenue in 2018.

Casinos aren’t just for gambling – they offer a lot more

One of the most obvious of these was that, compared to other Atlantic City casinos, Ocean Resort offered little top quality entertainment. I also mentioned the shortage of special events and promotions like prize drawings and holiday celebrations that invariably draw more people to the casino.

A third area I highlighted was the pressing need for lower cost dining options and discounted specials that would give restaurant goers more bang for their buck.

I am delighted to report that Ocean Casino Resort is starting to implement these changes.

Innovations are already in the works–with many more coming

Since the start of 2019, scheduled entertainment at the resort has increased substantially in both quality and frequency. In addition, starting this weekend—just in time for Mother’s Day–you ‘ll be able to take advantage of new dining and spa specials.

But that’s not all. Over the coming weeks, Ocean Casino Resort will be unveiling a wide array of other enhancements, including all of the following:

  • Additional dining and shopping deals at numerous outlets throughout the property
  • Many more ways to earn and redeem comp dollars
  • Weekly prize drawings

Despite the resort’s focus on being first and foremost a casino, with all this and more happening, before long, Ocean Casino Resort won’t be just a casino anymore, but a hubbub of activity.

Treat your mom to a Mother’s Day she won’t forget

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. But for all of you who would love to treat your mom or any other person in your life who’s like a mom to you to something special, yet still haven’t made plans, no need to panic. Ocean Casino Resort has you covered!

Treat her to brunch at Amada

I can’t imagine a surer way to start this special day for your own special someone on a winning note than to be waited on hand on foot, savoring the exquisite Spanish cuisine of celebrity chef Jose Garces while enjoying breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

If you had any doubts before about the appropriateness of the Ocean Casino Resort name, brunch at Amada overlooking the ocean will convince you otherwise.

Starting on Mother’s Day, May 12, and every Sunday thereafter, Amada will be serving brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $49 per person. Reservations are a must.

Visit TheOceanAC.com  ASAP to reserve your table.

Recently I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Amada. But rather than go on and on with my own accolades for this acclaimed restaurant, I’ll let chef Garces himself do the talking.

“We’re excited to bring brunch with a view to Amada at Ocean. With the spectacular views and our delicious Spanish food, featuring our house specialty, roasted suckling pig, there’s something for everyone.”

Sunday brunch options will include Andalusian inspired fare such as  Tortilla Espanola (a traditional Spanish omelet with saffron aioli), and Sangria Pancakes,  along with a carving station, assorted breads, and other traditional breakfast and brunch favorites.

Treat her to a luxurious facial and massage at Exhale Spa & Bathhouse

Mother’s Day is all about being pampered. So any gift that offers escape from the pressures of everyday life and a day of ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift.

It’s also a gift you should consider for yourself, to reward you for and get your mind off your own hard work year-round.

Of course, a day at the spa can get quite expensive. However, Exhale Spa & Bathhouse at Ocean Casino Resort offers two money-saving specials at $99 each.

  • 50-minute Swedish Fusion Massage

Rhythmic Swedish massage movements combine with powerful aromatherapy oils to give you almost a full hour of unparalleled relaxation.

  • 50-minute True Facial

Some salons and spas offer facials with all kinds of weird ingredients for those adventurous enough to try them. But for a Mother’s Day gift, I think it makes more sense to go with a tried and true treatment.

Start with a thorough cleansing and application of a custom enzyme exfoliation, in the expert hands of a skilled esthetician, that will prep the skin perfectly for the next step. That will be a soothing mask, selected specifically for your skin type.

50 minutes later, your face will feel refreshed and restored, and you’ll be ready to face the day.

Note:

  • The $99 spa treatment offers are available Tuesday -Thursday only, cannot be substituted for or combined with any other services, and end May 31, 2019.
  • Tax and gratuity are not included in the quoted $99 price.

Take advantage of lots of new ways to earn, redeem, and use comp dollars

If you’re not a big player, you will inevitably be disappointed at times that you are not earning comp dollars at the rate you expected and feel you deserve. You may also feel inconvenienced by the casino’s rules and restrictions regarding when and where you are allowed to use your comps.

These are common complaints. The good news is that both earning comp dollars and using them at Ocean Casino Resort will soon become a lot easier.

But what if you don’t have any comp dollars available? Does that mean you have to pay full price for everything? Absolutely not! As long as you sign up for a Player’s Club Card and bring it with you, you can get lots of free and discounted stuff simply for showing up!

At Ocean Casino Resort, it pays to have a Player’s Club Card

If you’re not a member yet of the Ocean Premier Players Club, what are you waiting for? Joining is completely free, and once you have your card, earning comps for your play isn’t the only benefit.

You can start taking advantage of a whole host of rewards, offers, and freebies–more than ever before. Even if you don’t play a lot, simply having a card entitles you to a free rebate bonus offer on sign-up, plus free self-parking, special dining and retail discounts, daily promotions, and the chance to win huge prizes every time you visit.

New Member Rebate: Now through December 31, 2019

Anyone signing up for an Ocean Casino Resort Player’s Club Card for the first time between now and the end of the year gets this special offer. If your early play doesn’t go well, no worries. The casino has your back.

New members who lose between $50 and $500 on their first visit will receive a refund of their losses in the form of two equal free play offers in four to six weeks. Video poker, video roulette, and keno are excluded. Certain other restrictions may also apply. Visit the Players Club for more information.

Dynamite Dining Deals

  • $2 Tacos

Taco Tuesdays were great. But starting June 1, the offer will no longer be limited just to Tuesdays. Show your Player’s Club Card at Distrito and enjoy a $2 taco and margarita between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. any day of the week!

  • Discounts at Cafe 500 and Rocco’s Italian Kitchen & Market

All Players Club members will get a discount at these restaurants. The amounts are 20% for Black Card holders, 15% for Platinum Card holders, 10% for Gold Card holders, and 5% for Blue Card holders.

Super Shopping Savings

If you wish, you can now redeem your comp dollars at participating Shops at the Row. As of this writing, the shops that accept comp dollars include all of the following:

  • Time After Time (jewelry and watches)
  • Hooligan’s (kids’ clothing and accessories)
  • O-Man (gentlemen’s clothing and accessories)
  • Rocket Fizz (soda pop and candy)
  • Renee and Bangz Salon & Blow Dry Lounge
  • Flying Point Surf Shop

You’ll also be able to start using your comp dollars soon at Ocean Wine & Spirits and other retail outlets.

$250,000 May and June Giveaway

From now through the end of June, playing your favorite slots & table games, and getting in on some NJ sports betting action at the William Hill Sportsbook won’t be the only way you can win big at Ocean Casino Resort.

Every Friday and Saturday in May and June through June 29, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., five lucky players will each win up to $1,000 every hour. They will also be entered in the Grand Prize drawing taking place at 11 p.m. Sat., June 29 where three Grand Prize winners get to choose from a Mercedes C 300, CLA  250, or GLA 250.

After this promotion ends, I bet there will be many more big giveaways of this type at Ocean Casino Resort.

Other special offers

Free Play every day

Winning $1,000 and then a Mercedes on top of it is a long shot to be sure, but here’s another reward that isn’t. In fact, as long as you have $50 or more comp dollars available, you can count on it every time you visit because it’s guaranteed!

Players may now exchange comp balances from $50 to $500 for free play. However, it’s at a 2-1 ratio. In other words, you get $1 free play for every $2 in comps redeemed.

You might prefer to save your comps for something else where you can redeem them dollar for dollar.

Additional benefits for higher level cardholders

You can now pick up your Players Club gifts at the new Gift Redemption Center.

In addition, Black card members may park in designated Black Card members only parking spaces on the casino level and 11th floor of the self-park garage.

Black and Platinum players also never have to wait on long lines. Preferred lines exclusively for them are now available at all restaurants, shows, and special events.

Summary and Conclusion

Casino Player readers voted the Ocean Premier Players Club No. 1 in comps. After reading about all of the wonderful benefits this program has to offer, I can see why.

However, as I pointed out in my review of this casino’s William Hill Sportsbook, the comp program for sports bettors can be a lot better. It needs to be combined with the casino comp program so that players who enjoy both casino games and sports betting, who are not necessarily big gamblers, can derive some tangible benefit.

Hopefully, this much needed improvement can be implemented in time for the 2019 fall football season.

In any case, it’s wonderful to see Ocean Casino Resort back on track. If you haven’t visited in a while, be sure to come back soon and experience everything about the new, improved Ocean Casino Resort that makes it a standout New Jersey casino resort destination.

Ocean Resort Casino Will Get $70 Million From New Owner Luxor Capital

Barbara Nathan February 1, 2019

It has been no secret that in the seven months since Ocean Resort Casino opened on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on the site of the former Revel Casino Hotel, the property has been struggling.

So when the resort’s former principal owner Bruce Deifik announced on Jan. 10 that he was transferring primary ownership to another party, the news was not surprising.

However, he did not disclose as to whom the new principal owner would be. That changed earlier this week with the announcement that a New York hedge fund would assume control of the AC casino.

Early revenue far short of projections

Ocean Resort Casino’s opening — on June 27 — coincided with that of its neighbor, Hard Rock Atlantic City. Therefore, it should have been able to capitalize a lot more than it did both on the peak summer season and spillover from Hard Rock.

However, attendance has been disappointing. Also, revenue so far has been far short of the figures that the resort originally projected in the licensing hearing before the Casino Control Commission.

Chief Financial Officer Allan Greenstein told the commission that the resort anticipated receiving a 10.5 percent of the market during its first year of operation, including $292 million in gambling revenue and $121 million in non-gaming revenue.

Its total gambling revenue for the six months it was open in 2018, including the peak months of July and August, was only $101 million. But $8.4 million of that total was not from casino gambling at all, but it was from Ocean Resort Sportsbook.

Furthermore, when compared to Atlantic City’s other eight casinos, the monthly revenue for Ocean Resort has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. August and November were the only two months when Ocean Resort Casino was open that it wasn’t ranked last.

The new owner now identified as Luxor Capital Group

On Jan. 28, the identity of the company taking over control of Ocean Resort Casino was finally revealed. It is Luxor Capital Group, a New York-based private investment firm. Luxor has committed to invest $70 million in property enhancements.

Meanwhile, Deifik will retain no ownership of the casino at all, according to the Associated Press.

Luxor helped with original financing for Ocean Resort

This is not Luxor Capital Group’s first investment in Ocean Resort Casino. The company was also a major contributor to the initial financing.

The $2.4 billion Revel only lasted two years before it closed permanently in September 2014.

Then, the following April, Glenn Straub purchased the vacant property for only $82 million. However, other than renaming it TEN, he did nothing with it. Despite multiple promises to renovate it and reopen, the reopening never happened.

Finally, in January 2019, Colorado-based real estate developer Deifik purchased the property from Straub, sight unseen, for $229 million.

The purchase was made possible as a result of financing from two major sources: JP Morgan Chase and Luxor Capital Group. The initial loan from Chase was for $110 million. The loan from Luxor was for $122.5 million.

Then, in June 2018, Deifik borrowed another $175 million from Chase to pay off the first bank loan.

Now Luxor has agreed to help Ocean Resort Casino further with a new $70 million investment in the property.

Luxor Capital Group’s background

Luxor Capital Group was founded in 2002 by Christian Leone (no relation to Ocean Resort CEO Frank Leone). The company reports approximately $3.2 billion in assets.

It has no current or past relationship with the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

What will happen next

The new deal with Luxor is expected to close in the early part of February. This is pending the receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals and final documentation.

Then, once the investment is approved, Luxor will need to undergo the standard licensing process required of all NJ casino operators. For now, Deifik’s company, AC Ocean Walk, is still the casino’s license holder.

Interim licensing approval is expected to take from 90 to 120 days. Meanwhile, Luxor’s $70 million investment will be held in trust. A specially appointed trustee will temporarily oversee the trust until Luxor receives its interim authorization.

According to The Press of Atlantic City, Ocean Resort Casino expects no changes in operations stemming from the temporary existence of the trust.

Long-term plans at the AC casino

Assuming the deal is finalized, and Luxor Capital Group gets a license, Luxor will use the $70 million it is investing in Ocean Resort Casino to make significant enhancements in the property.

Specific improvements mentioned so far include all of the following:

  • Opening a buffet
  • Additional suites and rooms
  • Enhancements to the casino floor (specifics not indicated)
  • A substantial increase in entertainment programming and player events

Presumably, these much-needed enhancements will occur in 2019. However, projected dates, like when the buffet is expected to open, have yet to be announced.

Here at NJ Gambling Websites, we will stay on top of this important developing story and keep you posted on all of the latest news as it happens.

Can Ocean Resort Casino Be Saved? A New Owner’s Investment Could Be The Answer

Barbara Nathan January 14, 2019
ocean resort atlantic city

Anyone visiting Ocean Resort Casino for the first time cannot help be awestruck by how beautiful this property is, both inside and out.

Players have nine casinos to choose from in Atlantic City. Also, there’s a growing list of gambling options in Pennsylvania and other nearby states, all competing for business.

Despite its beauty, Ocean Resort Casino is not receiving anywhere near its anticipated share of the market.

The property can only continue to operate unprofitably for so long before something has to give. Ocean Resort is in trouble, and the whole town knows it. The property is facing not only severe financial problems but legal ones as well.

Ocean Resort’s ownership change

After only six months of existence, on Jan. 10, Bruce Deifik announced that the property is getting a new owner. He indicated that he would retain a non-controlling ownership interest.

However, a still unnamed outside company would be the principal owner.

Deifik indicated that the new controlling entity, whoever it may be, is planning to invest about $70 million toward enhancing the property’s offerings. Among the specific improvements mentioned were additional rooms and suites, enhancements to the casino floor, a buffet and “a substantial increase” in entertainment and special events.

The plan is to keep the AC casino open

At least for now, the jobs for the approximately 3,000 people working there are reportedly secure. However, this is contingent on the identity of the new owner, passing the mandatory background check and approval by state gambling regulators for a license.

Meanwhile, these were Deifik’s comments to the Associated Press.

“It has been truly an honor for myself and my family to have taken this property, opened its doors and brought back the players, the families, the convention guests and the sports betting enthusiasts. My family and I want to thank the 3,000-plus employees at Ocean for their tireless work to bring our property to life and put it on track to become the best gaming property in New Jersey. If approved and closed, this next round of investment into Ocean will put this property on an exciting path to growth.”

The transition won’t be easy

Implementing the proposed lofty plans for Ocean Resort Casino will take time. But assuming they go through as hoped, the undeniable shortage of offerings won’t be the only things on Ocean Resort’s agenda that need fixing.

Financial woes

It took two days of testimony and deliberations to finally convince the Casino Control Commission to grant Ocean Resort a license one week before opening.

A major concern was the company’s financial stability.

The commission must have been impressed that Deifik was able to come up with $200 million to buy the property from then-owner Glenn Straub and commit to investing $50 million more in renovations.

But given the new owner’s lack of experience running similar properties, the commission still had reservations.

It wanted more assurance that a new name and a new buyer with deep pockets for the facility wouldn’t be a reincarnation of the doomed Revel.

Predictions versus reality

The projections made by Chief Financial Officer Alan Greenstein were vital in convincing the commission that Ocean Resort Casino deserved a chance.

Greenstein stated that the resort anticipated gaining about 10.5 percent of the AC market during its first year of operation and 12 percent by 2021.

He also predicted that during its first year alone, the property would take in $292 million in gambling revenue and $127 million in non-gaming revenue.

However, the reality has proven otherwise.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), the revenue the casino-hotel took in has been far short of its projections. From the start of July 2018 to the end of November (the last month for which complete statistics are currently available), Ocean Resort Casino has consistently lagged behind its competitors.

In fact, every month the casino’s revenue from gambling was at or near the bottom of the pack. August and November were the only months when Ocean Resort Casino did not rank dead-last.

During the third quarter of 2018, Ocean Resort Casino registered a gross operating profit of $1.4 million; comparing that with the other new AC casino hotel, Hard Rock, which had a gross operating profit of $8.2 million.

Lack of customers

Of course, it’s hard for a casino-hotel to stay afloat when customers are scarce.

I visited Ocean Resort last month with a friend from New York City who hadn’t been there yet. After giving her a tour, we had dinner at Amada. We both couldn’t help but notice that the restaurant and the casino floor were nearly empty.

Legal woes

Ocean Resort Casino is also facing legal problems, as evidenced by a recent string of lawsuits.

In December, Joseph Morrisey, former manager of HQ2, a nightclub at the resort, filed a multimillion lawsuit against Deifik and lender JP Morgan Chase Bank for breach of contract.

Morrisey claimed that the reason for his firing was to thwart his partnership interest that was part of his management deal now that Deifik wanted to sell the property. Morrisey also claimed that JP Morgan hadn’t been made privy to his stake in the property.

In addition, according to records from the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office and the Press of Atlantic City, two construction liens against Ocean Resort are still outstanding. The filers are demanding a collective $1.1 million for work performed by contractors and subcontractors who have yet to receive payment.

Ocean Resort’s tumultuous history

To better understand why Ocean Resort is in a predicament it is in now, let’s briefly summarize the history of this facility.

Chapter 1

When the $2.4 billion Revel Hotel and Casino opened on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on April 2, 2012, it was heralded as a game-changer.

The facility will be forever remembered in this town, but not in the way intended.

From day one to its September 2014 closing, it never turned a profit. The Revel was ill-conceived, mismanaged, not the right fit and doomed from the get-go.

On Sept. 2, 2014, after two bankruptcy filings in two years, the Revel closed its doors permanently.

Thereby, concluding Chapter 1 of a story on how not to succeed in business.

Chapter 2

In April 2015, Straub purchased the shuttered property for a mere $82 million. He then sat on it for nearly three years, without ever completing the promised renovations or obtaining the license to open it.

In September 2016, Straub renamed the vacant property TEN (after Bo Derek). But for all of the people still waiting for the casino and hotel to reopen finally, but losing hope that it ever would, the only rating possible was zero.

A major part of the problem was Straub’s insistence that he didn’t need a license because he would be turning over the management to a third party. The Casino Control Commission insisted otherwise, and the two parties came to a standstill.

Finally, in January 2018, a new buyer came forward.

A company called Ocean Walk, headed by Denver-based developer Deifik, reached a deal to purchase the idle casino hotel from Straub.

Deifik handed over $200 million to Straub and renamed the property Ocean Resort Casino shortly after that.

That concludes Chapter 2 of the saga.

Chapter 3

On June 27, 2018, a day ahead of schedule, Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock AC simultaneously opened to the public. However, for Ocean Resort, it was only a week after the Casino Control Commission granted it a license.

Hopefully, Chapter 3 won’t end the same way the first two chapters did — with a closed casino.

Did the casino open too soon?

Granted Ocean Resort Casino faced a big uphill battle given all that went wrong with its two predecessors. But given this new facility’s lackluster start, too, one only has to hope that it isn’t déjà vu all over again.

All of the enhancements that Deifik mentioned as a priority going forward with the new owner are clearly needed. But what is mind-boggling is the enormous haste with which Ocean Resort Casino opened (less than six months after Deifik purchased the property).

Secondly, another six months have passed since then. Certainly, the resort could have done a lot more during that time. It could offer amenities that would make it a viable casino destination, not just for high rollers, but for a wide range of players.

Ocean Resort Casino may have fared better copying a page from the Golden Nugget Atlantic City playbook.

Ocean’s decision to open on the same day as Hard Rock may have been shortsighted, too. Initially, the huge spillover of players and visitors from Hard Rock to Ocean Resort was undoubtedly good for business.

However, the simultaneous opening meant that not just initial but ongoing comparisons between the two resorts would be inevitable.

Did Ocean Resort Casino open too soon? I think so. The owner may have bitten off more than he can chew, and now the property, its staff and loyal players all have to deal with the consequences.

What went wrong and why

Ocean Resort Casino resides at the far northern end of the AC Boardwalk, on the site of the former Revel.

However, I don’t think the less-than-ideal location has been more than a minor factor contributing to this casino’s problems.

The resort is walking distance of Hard Rock and jitneys. Trams transport customers cheaply to and from the Boardwalk entrance at frequent intervals. There is also plenty of parking.

Not being in walking distance of other casinos certainly hasn’t hurt the Borgata.

I think the problems lie far more with the shortcomings inside the facility and lack of preparation by the person heading it.

An article I wrote for NJ Gambling Websites on July 30, 2018, highlighted my initial impressions of both of the new casinos in Atlantic City, summarizing what was great and what wasn’t.

Unfortunately, much of what I said needs improvement back then at Ocean Resort still does.

No established brand and no comparable previous casino experience

Unlike Hard Rock Atlantic City, which came to Atlantic City as a readily identifiable brand with years of experience operating large casino properties all over the world, Ocean Walk was an unknown entity.

And Deifik’s limited experience in the casino gambling industry was confined to financial interests in much smaller properties.

He came to Atlantic City with zero experience running a casino-hotel of the same type, much less taking over a property with a history of repeated failures.

Furthermore — incredible as it may sound — Deifik not only purchased the property before ever seeing it but had never even been to Atlantic City either. Creating a successful casino-hotel in AC from scratch requires a basic knowledge of the area and the clientele one hopes to attract.

Gaming industry consultant and professor of casino management at Fairleigh Dickinson University Robert Ambrose told Philly.com that, “Ocean Resort appears to be struggling… against better-known properties.” He also said that “building the customer base and the loyal following is very difficult, especially if you don’t have an established brand.”

Ambrose conceded that “it’s tough being a new business and being a new kid on the block. … It’s a risky business.”

Confusing layout

This is a place where a first-time visitor, and even repeat visitors, can easily get lost. The entrance is on the Boardwalk, yet the elevator lists the level as RB.

The lobby is not on the ground floor, as expected, but on a high floor above the casino. Restaurants and specific gaming areas are also hard to find since there are not enough signs telling patrons where to go.

William Hill Sportsbook: Great for what it is, but not newcomer friendly

Ocean Resort Casino did an admirable job partnering with sportsbook giant William Hill to create a state-of-the-art sportsbook. High rollers will feel right at home there. So will anyone who loves to bet parlays, teasers, and props, as no Atlantic City sportsbook offers players more betting options.

However, where the Ocean Resort sportsbook falls short is in its failure to address the needs of casual bettors and newcomers.

The sheer volume of betting options can be overwhelming to someone who wants to make a couple of moneyline or point spread football wagers on a Saturday or Sunday.

In addition, it does not accept verbal bets. Instead, bettors need to fill in the grids on designated betting sheets and hand them to the clerk at the window. This can be confusing and time-consuming to an inexperienced bettor and result in many mistakes.

I found the sportsbook staff less friendly and helpful than at some of the other sportsbooks in town. Very long lines are another problem.

Furthermore, sports bettors are as deserving of comps as those who give comparable action play other casino games. In fact, the two groups are far from mutually exclusive. This casino’s William Hill sportsbook does have a rewards program for sports bettors, but it is not linked to the casino’s player rewards program.

After placing $1,000 in bets, the bettor receives $1 in additional free bets. That’s it — not much incentive to keep playing there.

Tiny poker room

Ocean Resort Casino does offer poker, but the room is small and hard to find.

There are only a few open tables, with one to two no-limit games usually the only option. With no tournaments or special promotions for cash game players, there’s little incentive to play there.

Not enough first-rate entertainment

The resort has only one concert venue, Ovation Hall, which also doubles as a venue for boxing matches.

During the past year, scheduled entertainment has been very limited, especially big-name acts, and the offerings have clearly paled in comparison to its nearest competitor, Hard Rock Casino.

If Ocean Resort Casino is to succeed in attracting bigger crowds, it needs to step up its entertainment offerings considerably.

The casino could also benefit from having frequent special events that get a lot of people in the door, like holiday celebrations, food and wine tastings, and prize drawings.

High-cost dining

The problem is not lack of places to eat, but the lack of reasonably priced places to eat. Even the casual eateries are pricey.

I think this casino needs to offer at least a few specials where patrons can get a full meal for a discounted price.

There could also be bigger representation in the annual 50 Bites promotion, as well as special events for foodies, such as Savor Borgata or celebrations of specific foods, such as Bacon Week and Chocolate Week at the Tropicana.

Conclusion

Ocean Resort Casino continues to struggle to find its niche in a shrunken market. The naysayers, who claimed last spring that nine casinos are too many and Atlantic City is headed toward another downward spiral, are repeating the same dire predictions.

However, according to a Jan. 11, article in The Press of Atlantic City, casino gambling experts like Ambrose and Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, disagree.

Ambrose believes that Ocean Resort Casino, “under the right branding and marketing, can survive as a resort experience and contribute to Atlantic City.”

In addition, Ambrose and Pandit both regard the new investment in the property announced by Deifik as “a positive sign not only for the property but for the city itself.”

City Council President Marty Small echoed the same sentiments when he stated the following:

“Moving forward, hopefully with further investment, they (the new majority owner) will bring a new vision, not only to make the Ocean Resort sustainable, but profitable as well.”

Ocean Resort Casino Targets The Top Of The NJ Sports Betting Market

Martin Derbyshire September 6, 2018
ocean resort sports betting

Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City has designs on leading the emerging NJ sports betting market. That plan has been clear since even before it opened its doors.

The former $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel reopened as Ocean Resort Casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on June 28, 2018, with sports betting as a major focus.

At Ocean Resort Casino’s licensing hearing in advance of the re-opening, company officials revealed plans to feature a 7,500-square-foot William Hill US-run sportsbook right in the center of the casino floor.

Construction of the sportsbook could not be completed in time for the re-opening. However, Ocean Resort Casino showed its commitment to sports betting by opening up a temporary sportsbook in its place while construction continued.

Then, the week before the start of NFL football season, the new permanent sportsbook was revealed in all its glory.

Ocean Resort Casino opens

Actor Mark Wahlberg was the first person to place a bet at Ocean Resort Casino’s temporary sportsbook. He bet $200 on the NFL’s New England Patriots to win next year’s Super Bowl during the casino’s grand opening.

Borgata’s Race & Sports Book launched June 14, 2018, as the first casino-based sportsbook in New Jersey. Up to the end of July, it remained the top-grossing casino-based sports betting facility in the state, generating a total of more than $1.5 million in NJ sports betting revenue.

However, the William Hill Sports Book at Ocean Resort led all casino-based sportsbooks in July, generating $1.03 million in revenue. The sportsbook at Ocean Resort Casino has actually generated $1.22 million in sports betting revenue since its June 28 launch.

It now appears poised to become the top-grossing casino-based sports betting facility in the state beginning in August 2018.

The permanent sportsbook at Ocean Resort Casino remained under construction heading into the last week of August 2018 before it opened its doors Aug. 31. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Sept. 6 ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles-Atlantic Falcons football game.

The sportsbook occupies an area that once housed Revel’s nightclubs.

$6 million sportsbook still under construction

William Hill US and Ocean Resort Casino reportedly spent $6 million on the 7,500-square-foot facility. It features a wall of television screens and a number of large semi-circular booths.

Officials at William Hill promised the sportsbook will be fully functional by the time the NFL begins its new season, and they delivered. William Hill also operates the sportsbook at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport.

While waiting for the new sportsbook to open, however, Ocean Resort Casino launched its NJ gambling website, Ocean Online Casino, less than two weeks after opening its doors.

Ocean Online Casino and mobile sports betting

Ocean Online Casino began a five-day soft launch on July 10, 2018, with a scaled-down version of what the online gambling operation will eventually become. At launch, it featured approximately 50 online slots, six versions of video poker, and electronic table games including blackjack and roulette.

The site is powered by international online gambling software company GAN. Ocean Resort Casino’s original deal with GAN includes plans to launch an online casino and sports betting site directly connected to the Ocean Resort Casino player loyalty rewards program.

The site is still ramping up full-scale online casino operations, and the online sports betting component has yet to launch.

Of course, GAN inked a deal with sports betting solutions supplier SBTech in January 2018 that will ultimately see SBTech supply real-money sports betting services to GAN’s portfolio of US casino operator clients.

The plan includes integrating SBTech’s sports betting solution into GAN’s software platform. William Hill US is handling the retail side of things at Ocean Resort Casino. That presumably leaves the online and mobile sportsbook side to GAN and SBTech.

From Revel to Ocean Resort Casino

Florida developer Glenn Straub purchased Revel Casino Hotel out of bankruptcy for $82 million in 2015. However, Straub could not agree with local authorities over his need for a casino license and never re-opened the property.

Instead, he flipped it to Colorado developer Bruce Deifik in January 2018 for more than $200 million. Deifik immediately re-branded the property Ocean Resort Casino. He procured the necessary licenses and re-opened the property on June 28, 2018, less than six months after buying it.

Ocean Resort Casino now features a 1,399-room hotel. Plus, a 140,000-square-foot casino situated on 20 acres of prime real estate on the AC Boardwalk. In addition to the state-of-the-art sportsbook that’s now up and running, the casino features close to 2,000 slots and 100 table games.

Despite its roller-coaster history, Ocean Resort plans on making its mark in the Atlantic City casino and NJ sports betting world. All signs point to it doing just that.

Warning: These NJ Online Slots Have Some Crazy Mega Jackpots To Win

Daniel Smyth August 10, 2018
warning

If you’ve visited us before, you’ll know that we like to start our promo guides with a question. This week is no different as we want to know if you know how to get the most bang for your buck?

Although the obvious answer is NJ online casino bonuses, there is another, more consistent, way to get more for your time online.

By playing progressive jackpot slots, you’re putting yourself in the best position to win the most money for the least cost. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re always going to win. In fact, the odds on you winning jackpots aren’t exactly on your side. However, if you’re looking for the easiest way to turn a few dollars into a few hundred thousand dollars, jackpot slots are perfect.

Now, we know that finding the biggest slot jackpots can be a bit of a pain. So, to help cut down your search time and increase your spin rate, we’ve picked out some of the best payouts on the market.

By trawling the jackpot pages of New Jersey’s best online casinos, we’ve found five ways for you to win more than $10,000 in an instant.

Join Cleopatra at Caesars

First up is Caesars’ Cleopatra slot game.

Designed by IGT, this five-reel spinner is a classic in every sense of the word. As well as its Ancient Egyptian theme, this jackpot slot has been around for the best part of a decade. Despite its age, the game still feels fresh thanks to an ever-changing jackpot.

At the last count, you could win more than $500,000 courtesy of the MegaJackpots prize pool on this Caesars online casino game. What’s great about Cleopatra is that you can hit the winning combination at any bet size. So, even if you stake just 20 cents per spin, you could roll in five MegaJackpot symbols and win a cool $500,000.

Sail your way to a big win at Golden Nugget

If the allure of the Ancient Egyptians doesn’t float your boat, how about taking a voyage with Captain Nemo. Currently on offer at Golden Nugget, this jackpot slot is fit to burst right now.

During our review, we witnessed the jackpot counter surpass the $504,000 mark, which means you could win a life-changing sum of money for as little as 20 cents at Golden Nugget.

Unlike our previous hot slot, Captain Nemo’s treasure is protected by a bonus round. Basically, in order to win the juicy jackpot, you’ll need to roll in three or more game logos (i.e., the bonus symbol). Once you’ve done that, you’ll get to unlock mystery boxes.

Find three jackpot tokens during this stage and you’ll spin the Wheel of Fortune where you can win five and six-figure prizes.

Join the millionaire’s club at Golden Nugget

Sticking with Golden Nugget, Millionaire’s Club III is vying to be the state’s hottest game right now.

Created by Cryptologic and boasting a 94.55 percent RTP, this game is the perfect way to become part of the casino world’s elite.

To play for some serious cash, you’ll need to stake at least one cent across 20 paylines. In practice, this 20 cent bet will spin the five reels and unlock a host of incremental payouts.

If you want to win the jackpot, you’ll need to roll in three scatters (the game logo). By doing that, you’ll uncover gems hiding mystery prizes. If you can find three jackpot tokens, you’ll spin the jackpot wheel. Anyone that finds four arrows and makes it to the center of the wheel will win upwards of $500,000!

A divine proposition at Ocean Online Casino

For a slightly smaller jackpot but an experience that’s just as enjoyable, Divine Fortune at Ocean Online Casino is perfect.

At the time of writing, the progressive jackpot at Ocean Resort online was sitting around the $40,000 mark, which is obviously a nice little payday. However, the real reason we’ve picked out this game is that it embodies all the hallmarks of quality you’d expect from a modern online slot.

In the first instance, the NetEnt creation allows you to adjust your coin value and number of coins per line. Whatever amount you choose to bet, you’ll get to spin five reels and 20 paylines. Once you’re rolling, three jackpot symbols (gold coins) will take you to a mystery prize board.

Here you’ll try to uncover one, two or three rows of coins. Hit one row and you’ll win the minor jackpot. Two will get you the major jackpot and three will unlock the mega jackpot, which is currently worth more than $40,000!

Turn any game into a progressive jackpot at Virgin Casino

To take advantage of our final tip this week, you need to visit Virgin Casino.

Knowing how much players love a communal prize pool, the promo team at Virgin HQ has come up with something known as the Community Jackpot. This innovation is available year-round and basically turns any real money game into a progressive jackpot proposition.

Put simply, if you notice a silver key at the top of your screen, you can click it and spin for the $10,000 Community Jackpot. What’ great about this offer is that you don’t have to be the lucky winner to win. If you’ve played the same game within the hour preceding the jackpot, you’ll win a share of $20,000.

In other words, if you’re a fan of progressive jackpots but don’t necessarily want to play slots, Virgin online casino is worth a look.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to strike it rich at NJ gambling websites this month. And we really have only scratched the surface of these mega jackpots. So by following our sign-up links and taking a turn on the hottest slots, you could be taking home prizes worth more than $500,000.

Enjoy The Sweet Taste Of Success With Big Prize Bubblegum At Ocean Online Casino

Daniel Smyth August 9, 2018
bubblegum

Looking for a sweet treat to float your boat this week?

If so, turn your rudder and set sail for Ocean Resort Casino and it’s Big Prize Bubblegum promo. Running right now until 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 12, this $2,000 weekly giveaway will see the most active players get a little bit of something extra before the start of next week.

As per Ocean Resort online casino’s homepage, taking part in this weekly cash grab requires three moves:

  1. Log in then opt-in to the promotion using the button on the OceanOnlineCasino.com bonus page.
  2. Earn enough points to place in the top 10 of the leaderboard to win a prize.
  3. Win a $1,000 bonus if you finish first!

Sample the delights of Big Prize Bubblegum

If that seems a little too easy, you’d be right. To actually be in with a shot at winning, there are two important things you need to know.

Firstly, you’ll have to play the slot of the week. For those that haven’t guessed it yet, this week’s hot slot is Big Prize Bubblegum. Designed by Incredible Technologies, this five-reel video spinner is packed with potential.

As well as being set inside a bubblegum machine, the colored balls in this game can link up in 1,024 ways to create a winning combination. Thanks to this all-ways-win dynamic, the Big Prize Bubblegum RTP is a heady 94.01 percent.

Compared to other video slots, that’s an impressive theoretical return rate. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, you can also go up to 300X your bet, free spins, and collect special toys filled with mystery prizes. Basically, this is a sweet slot and certainly worthy of being Ocean Online Casino’s game of the week.

Once you’ve found your way to the right slot, the second thing you need to know is how to earn points. Because this week’s promo is all about spins, the way to build up your balance is extremely straightforward:

Earn one leaderboard point for every $1 wagered on Big Prize Bubblegum.

Make the top 10 and bag a grand

By following those rules and earning enough points to finish within the top 10 players at the end of the week, you’ll score one of the following prizes:

  • First place: $1,000
  • Second place: $500
  • Third place: $200
  • Fourth place: $100
  • Fifth place: $50
  • Sixth place: $50
  • Seventh place: $25
  • Eighth place: $25
  • Ninth place: $25
  • 10th place: $25

All prizes are paid as bonus credits and can be used to play any real money games on OceanOnlineCasino.com. However, before you can withdraw your bonus and any associated winnings, you’ll have to wager 10X whatever you receive.

What’s more, you’ll have just 7 days to meet the wagering requirement. If we’re being critical, 10X is slightly high and a week isn’t much time. However, the promo team at Ocean Resort online casino has made up for the tough wagering conditions by making the contribution weightings better than average:

  • Slots: 100 percent contribution weighting
  • Roulette: 50 percent contribution weighting
  • All other table games: 10 percent contribution weighting

Spin your way to a win at Ocean Online Casino

If you want our advice, we’d stick to Big Prize Bubblegum. Not only will you be familiar with its intricacies by the end of the week, you’ll receive 100 percent credit for every bet you make.

Based on our experience, the spin rate for this game is one turn every five seconds (on average). This means you’d only have to stake $1 per spin and play for a couple of hours to complete the playthrough for any prize on the leaderboard.

Overall, we like this week’s promotion because it gives you a chance to try a new game and get something extra for your time online. In reality, high volume players are going to get the most value from this offer.

Even though it’s open to everyone, the race is already underway and players are already piling up the points. So, if you want to catch them before Aug. 12, you need to get busy.

If that sounds like a challenge you’re ready to accept, log in or join Ocean Resort online casino using our secure sign-up link now!

Sail Away On A World Cruise Worth $50K Thanks To Ocean Resort Online Casino

Daniel Smyth August 2, 2018
Ocean Resort online casino

With a name like Ocean Resort Casino, the obvious thing to do is dream up as many aquatic-themed promotions as you can.

Well, even though this NJ gambling website is just a few weeks old, that’s exactly what the team appears to be doing. However, as you’ll discover when you dive into the specifics of this Ocean Online Casino deal, there’s a lot more to this one than a fancy name.

A $50,000 cruise that will blow your mind

Yes, Sail the Seven Seas is a great title, but the prize on offer is even better. For two lucky winners, Ocean Resort online casino is giving you the chance to win a round-the-world cruise featuring the following:

  • A pair of tickets for an MSC Cruise worth $50,000
  • 117 days onboard a luxury cruise liner
  • A free ride to 23 countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and more
  • Guided tours of 43 tourist hotspots
  • $5,000 spending money

If you’re sitting there thinking that this promotion is big, you wouldn’t be wrong. Being the new kid in town, Ocean Resort needs to make a splash and this giveaway certainly does that.

Unsurprisingly, the runtime on this deal is a bit longer than a week. However, that’s great news simply because it means you have more time to get into the mix and win. For those that are interested in winning a luxury cruise of epic proportions, the playing period started on July 27 and will come to a close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 31.

Up anchor and play slots or table games

Assuming three months is long enough for you to join OceanOnlineCasino.com and get active, you’ll have two ways to win one of the two pairs of tickets.

Option 1

  1. Log in to your account and hit the “opt-in” button to join the Sail the Seven Seas: Slots Leaderboard.
  2. Earn 50 points daily for 60 days to get an invite to the final slots tournament. Every $1 you wager during the promotional period will earn you a single point. Therefore, you need to wager $50 per day for 60 days.
  3. Win the Seven Seas slot tournament and the $50,000 cruise is yours.

Option 2

  1. Log in to your account and hit the “opt-in” button to join the Sail the Seven Seas: Table Games Leaderboard.
  2. Win cash by playing table games (roulette, blackjack etc). With this promotion, you’ll earn 30 points for every $1 of net profit you make per day. In other words, the more cash you win, the more points you’ll earn each day. For example, if you played table games and finished $100 up for the day, you’d earn 3,000 points.
  3. Finish at the top of the leaderboard on Oct. 31 and you’ll secure the other $50,000 cruise package.

Don’t worry if you don’t win

The players that make it to the top of the leaderboards at the end of the bonus period will each claim the $50,000 cruise. However, the following consolation prizes are available for those that fall a place or two short:

  • Second and third place finishers in the slots and table games promotions will win their choice of any cruise from MSC Cruises that lasts for 10 days or less (excluding cruises to China).
  • Finally, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, it is possible to finish at the top of both leaderboards and win. In the event you get super lucky and win both promotions, you’ll have the ability to go on two cruises worth $50,000 each. Alternatively, you can take one of the star prizes and exchange the other for a cruise voucher valid on any trip that lasts for 10 days or less (excluding cruises to China).

Sail away with Ocean Resort online casino

Overall, this is right up there with the best New Jersey online casino promotions we’ve ever seen.

Aside from the value of the prize pool, the fact you can play in a way that suits you is fantastic. What’s more, there are no additional wagering conditions to meet if you win.

Yes, in order to be in with a chance of winning, you will have to be fairly active over the next few weeks. However, if you’ve ever fancied seeing the world in style, we really don’t think you can beat this deal.

If you’re not yet an Ocean Resort online casino player, the best way to join the action is by using our registration link. Doing that will not only get you a $125 no deposit bonus, but access to a $10,00 deposit match bonus.

On top of that, you’ll be able to opt-in to the Sail the Seven Seas promo and play for one of the most impressive prizes currently on offer at NJ online casinos.

Hard Rock And Ocean Resort Casino First Impressions: What’s Great And What Isn’t

Barbara Nathan July 30, 2018
comparison

I had the pleasure of attending the June 28 opening day festivities at both Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casinos. I also spent some time checking out what each casino had to offer both that day and on subsequent visits. I will now share my initial impressions of the two new Atlantic City casinos.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino themes

Even if you have no intentions of playing in the casino, Hard Rock is worth a visit just to see how magnificent it is. Those of you who frequented the Trump Taj Mahal will find it hard to believe it is the same property.

Without the name of the place in big letters, it would be hard to tell some casinos apart. But at Hard Rock, the second you see the 60-foot guitar at the entrance, you know exactly where you are. Pictures of iconic rock stars and extraordinary music memorabilia all over the property and glimpses of live bands playing as you walk by different bars and restaurants also convey the casino’s musical entertainment theme loud and clear.

By contrast, the Ocean Resort name and “Have a ball” tagline could have been that of any casino with a beach view. Therefore, to clearly differentiate it from the other Atlantic City Boardwalk casinos, I think that Ocean Resort Casino could have done a lot more to drive that theme home. Only one restaurant, Dolce Mare, and one retail shop, Flying Point Surf Shop, and none of the bars or entertainment venues have a name one can associate with the ocean.

Creativity and originality

Hard Rock gets high marks

On a related subject, I was most impressed by the creativity and originality that Hard Rock demonstrated in its opening day festivities. In addition to an inspiring video highlighting the awesome teamwork and great sense of pride of the thousands of people contributing to the finished product, each speaker was brought on stage to the accompaniment of a different song fitting the occasion. “We Built This City on Rock and Roll,” “Whatever It Takes,” and “Look How Far We’ve Come” are a few examples.

But perhaps the most fitting of all was the “525,600 minutes” chorus from Rent since the transformation of the former Trump Taj Mahal into the Hard Rock also took place in the span of a year.

But that wasn’t all. The audience was also treated to a spectacular high energy extravaganza that included mesmerizing performances by the Hard Rock girls, acrobats, tightrope walkers, and fire dancers, culminating in fireworks. And then came the grand finale that everyone filling the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena was waiting for–the unforgettable guitar smashing!

But Ocean Resort’s opening was underwhelming

By contrast, I would have to call the Ocean Resort Casino opening somewhat anticlimactic.

The highlights of the day by far were the free wine and free tastings at four fine dining establishments. However, the show in the Ovation Room featuring a hodgepodge of mediocre “talent” paled in comparison to the magnificent and also flawless production at Hard Rock.

Traveling to Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino

Both of these casinos are located on the north end of the Boardwalk. Hard Rock Casino is situated where the Trump Taj Mahal used to be, and like the latter, can be accessed directly from the adjacent Resorts Casino. Ocean Resort Casino is situated where the Revel used to be, after the Showboat (now a non-casino hotel).

So if you wish to walk from Hard Rock to Ocean Resort (or vice versa), you certainly can. The Boardwalk is the best route, as that’s where the main entrance to Ocean Resort Casino is. Or if you prefer, you can take a tram or rolling chair to either casino from any other Boardwalk casino. (Check the posted rates and don’t let the rolling chair driver overcharge you.) If taking the jitney, keep in mind that the stop for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is on Pacific Avenue a long block away, while the stop for Ocean Resort Casino is at the Boardwalk casino entrance.

If you are arriving by car, parking at Ocean Resort Casino is free, but it is not free at Hard Rock.

By the way, the names for the different levels at Ocean Resort Casino can be quite confusing to a first-timer. The Boardwalk entrance level (which is also where the jitneys and cabs stop) is called RB. The lobby, rather than being on the ground floor, is located on a higher floor.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casino floor

Which of the two casinos will be luckier for you is anybody’s guess, but when it comes to casino gambling, if there’s any bet that’s a sure thing, it’s this. There is zero chance of being bored at either casino. Not with 2,220 slots and 120 table games at Hard Rock Atlantic City and 1,945 slots and 99 table games at Ocean Resort Casino!

Gambling options at Ocean Resort Casino but not at Hard Rock Casino

Sports betting

I did find the Hard Rock casino floor easier to navigate, with numerous signs pinpointing guests to each specific location. However, one part of Ocean Resort Casino you will be able to find very easily, not only because it is smack in the center of the casino floor, but also because there are lots of signs pointing to it, is the William Hill Sports Book.

Until the expanded state-of-the-art sportsbook is ready, hopefully in time for the fall football season, sports bettors will have to make do with a very cramped space and much more likely than not, no place to sit.

But judging by the huge crowds packing the area daily, combined with betting options that rival those at the biggest sportsbooks in Las Vegas, comfort is of very minor importance compared to convenience and conviviality (the bar is one of the casino’s most popular social gathering places). Current hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

At some point, Hard Rock may also offer sports betting (if it can get past the legal complications). Ocean Resort Casino and the Borgata were joined by Bally’s on July 30 as the only places in AC offering sports betting. Then Harrah’s was next to join the NJ sports betting market on Aug. 1.

Poker

Another game you will find at Ocean Resort Casino, but not at the Hard Rock, is poker. However, it is a very small poker room with only a handful of tables.

Surprisingly, no one working there seemed to know what the poker comp rate was. Another problem was not only no side tables to hold drinks and snacks, but no cup holders. As a result, players were continually spilling their drinks.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino rewards programs

During opening weekend, there were very long lines to sign up for player’s cards at both casinos, but the lines at Ocean Resort Casino were ridiculously long.

Prior to the June 28 opening, it was possible to apply for a Hard Rock player’s card either at the Hard Rock Center in the Tanger Outlets or online, which undoubtedly helped reduce the overflow crowds applying at the casino. But at Ocean Resort Casino, people were waiting in line for two hours or more.

In the poker room, an executive took players’ ID’s in lieu of having them wait on line, but the wait for the card was no shorter. Players complained because they needed to leave but had to wait to get their driver’s license back. I think the casino should have anticipated the huge number of people wanting player’s cards and could have planned for it better. First impressions count.

Upgraded tier offers

I am happy to report that the lines to get player’s cards at both casinos are now much shorter. In addition, both casinos are offering attractive incentives to encourage new sign-ups, especially for holders of higher level player’s cards at other casinos.

Hard Rock Casino

For a limited time only, new players with a higher level card from another casino (not including Ocean Resort Casino) will qualify immediately for an upgraded tier at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Qualifying players will receive either an Elite or Rock Royalty Wild Card membership along with $50 or $150 respectively in free play and a complimentary hotel room for one or two nights, respectively. A complimentary dining offer and two complimentary tickets to Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club are included as well.

The offer is valid through Sept. 3, 2018. For additional information and terms and conditions, visit the Hard Rock Atlantic City website.

Ocean Resort Casino

The Ocean Premier loyalty program at Ocean Resort Casino includes four tiers: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Black. Through Sept. 30, 2018, the casino will match the tier level of any other Atlantic City casino (except Hard Rock).

And as an added perk, all players who present another Atlantic City casino card on sign up will receive the following free play based on their starting Ocean Resort Casino tier level:

  • Blue: $15
  • Gold: $25
  • Platinum: $50
  • Black: $100

Players upgraded to Platinum or Black card status will also receive a complimentary room at the resort. The room offer, which is also good through Sept. 30, is for one night for Platinum tier cardholders and for two nights for Black tier cardholders.

Additional information about the Ocean Resort Casino player’s rewards program can be found on the casino website.

Ocean Resort Casino rewards program for sports bettors

Ocean Resort Casino also offers a Sports Rewards Club whereby frequent sports bettors can be rewarded for their action. The sports rewards program is separate from the program described above for other casino play.

Sports bettors who sign up for the Sports Rewards Club earn sports points based on both type of wager and amount, as indicated below.

  • Straight Bet: 1 Sports Point for for each $1 wagered
  • Parlay/Teaser: 2 Sports Points for each $1 wagered
  • Parlay Card: 5 Sports Points for each $1 wagered

As long as at least one point is earned in a given 12-month period, the points don’t expire. However, you will need to do a substantial amount of wagering before any benefits are forthcoming. You will receive $1 in free bets for every 1,000 Sports Points.

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino restaurants

Obviously, if you spend any considerable amount of time at either casino, after a while you will be hungry. The good news is that both casinos offer a wide variety of restaurant options catering to every taste and budget. So basically the decision comes down to what kind of food you’re in the mood for, how much time you have, and the maximum amount you wish to spend.

Here are a few suggestions (my top picks) for both casual and fine dining at each casino. To avoid disappointment and possible long wait times, be sure to make reservations at any of the fine dining restaurants. Advance reservations are also strongly advised for the Hard Rock Café, especially when there is a scheduled performer.

Hard Rock

Casual dining:

  • Hard Rock Café: If possible, eat at a time when there will be a performer on stage. The entertainment is free so you are getting great bang for your buck.
  • YouYu: More than just a noodle bar, this place also serves up Asian street food. Its extended hours from 11 a.m. to 2 am. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday make it ideal for anyone hungry in the off hours or late at night.
  • Sugar Factory: This restaurant wasn’t open yet on day 1, but it is now. If you wish, you can have a whole meal there but, like the name, implies, the real reason to go is for the decadent ice cream desserts. This is a great place to take the whole family, but especially kids and all those who are still kids at heart. Everything is super-sized and designed for sharing.
  • Harvest Buffet: For big appetites on a small budget, nothing can beat a buffet, and the Harvest Buffet at Hard Rock is open for lunch and dinner daily.

 Fine dining:

  • Il Mulino: This hold-over from the Trump Taj Mahal is one of the best Italian restaurants in town.
  • Robert’s Steak House: Sometimes the one item you’re craving more than anything else is a perfectly prepared steak. If that is the case, I suggest Robert’s Steak House, another fine hold-over from the Trump Taj Mahal,
  • Council Oak Fish: This is similar to the Council Oak restaurants at other Hard Rock properties, but more seafood focused. A panoramic ocean view and live music nightly add to the appeal.
  • Kuro: If you have an adventurous palate and would like to try something different, this upscale contemporary Japanese restaurant is a good choice. Kuro offers a wide selection of handcrafted cocktails, a perfect complement to the boldly flavored food.

Ocean Resort Casino

Casual dining:

  • Sky Café: Summer will be over before you know it. So now while you still have a chance, don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner here on the pool deck or overlooking the ocean. Or stop by later (up to 11 p.m. weekdays and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday) for drinks and snacks at the bar.
  • Villain & Saint: The menu is as creative as the name of this restaurant. So if you’re looking for familiar favorites served with a new twist, look no further — especially if you also like rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Zen Bang Noodle & Sushi: Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine are all represented, so take your pick. Then watch the chef at work preparing your order in the open kitchen.
  • Café 500: I stopped by this restaurant on opening day, but walked away when I asked to see the menu and was told none was available. Hopefully, this 24-hour eatery now has its act together because every casino hotel can benefit from a good 24-hour coffee shop.

Once the eagerly awaited Wahlburgers restaurant also opens, that will be another welcome addition to include in this list.

Fine dining:

  • Harper’s: Let’s begin with a suggestion for those who want a leisurely and memorable meal earlier rather than later. Every Atlantic City casino should offer a viable place to have brunch, but only a few do. Harper’s at Ocean ResortCasino is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and serves hearty enough fare to satisfy you until dinner.
  • Amada: This Chef Garces owned restaurant specializing in shareable Spanish tapas is similar to the Amada in Old City, Philadelphia. Whether you and your companion are seeking an intimate table for two or you will be joined by a small group, the experience should be thoroughly enjoyable.
  • American Cut: On the other hand, if you prefer to stick to food you know and love and you’re hungry enough to polish off a generous serving of steak, look no further than the steakhouse aptly named American Cut.
  • Dolce Mare: When a restaurant not only offers a large varied menu, like this one does, specializing in both Italian cuisine and seafood, but also a magnificent ocean view, how could you possibly go wrong?

Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino entertainment

Last but certainly not least, apart from playing your favorite games in the casino, one of the main reasons for going is the entertainment. However, comparing the two newest Atlantic City casino hotels — Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino — in that regard, there is no comparison.

Hard Rock Casino

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino promised from the outset no less than 300 live entertainment acts in its first year, and so far, it seems to be delivering on its promise. You will have to pay top prices for some of the major acts booked for the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena, but in return, you will be treated to a night of spectacular superstar entertainment.

But if attending one of those concerts is not in your budget, no worries. Not just on weekends, but every night of the week, there’s other live entertainment to choose from that’s either very nominally priced or free. And despite the name Hard Rock, this is the place to go to enjoy not just rock ‘n’ roll, but any genre of music, including pop, country, R&B, Latino, and more. Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club and Daer Nightclub are other options.

In other words, there is something for everyone. Visit the Hard Rock AC website to check ahead of time for various entertainment options.

Ocean Resort Casino

HQ2 Nightclub featuring renowned DJs is open Friday through Sunday from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub is open late Thursday-Saturday.

In addition, boxing matches are scheduled from time to time, the Top Golf Swing Suite and Exhale Spa are open daily, and the HQ2 Beach Club is open Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. seasonally.

The resort has only one concert venue, Ovation Hall (the same venue used for the boxing matches), and only a few concerts are slated to take place there anytime soon. These include Wanda Sykes (Sept. 8), Wayne Brady (Nov. 10), and RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles (Nov. 17).

You can find the most up-to-date list of acts at the Ocean Resort Casino website.

Which casino would you pick?

Summing up all of the above, the two casinos seem evenly matched with regard to both slot and table game choice and variety of dining options.

However, Hard Rock is drawing bigger crowds, which means if you want to eat at one of their better restaurants, even on weekdays, you should reserve well in advance. Otherwise, there is a good chance you won’t get a table at the restaurant of your choice at the time you want to go.

Reservations are also recommended for the Hard Rock Cafe, and speaking of the food at this place and other Hard Rock Atlantic City casual restaurants, I would have liked to see a little more restraint in the menus. For example, virtually every item at the Hard Rock Cafe has over 1,000 calories, and you can probably double that number for many main dishes, drinks, and desserts at the Sugar Factory. At least one casual restaurant at this casino needs to offer healthier, lower calorie choices.

Otherwise, the casino that’s the better fit for you depends on personal preferences. If betting on sports is important to you, Ocean Resort Casino is the only one of the two currently offering this option.

However, if live entertainment is high on your list of how you want to spend your time when not gambling in the casino, Hard Rock AC is your best bet by far. Both casinos offer outstanding nightclub entertainment, but otherwise, it’s slim pickings entertainment-wise at Ocean Resort Casino compared to Hard Rock.

Ocean Resort Online Casino Kicks Into Gear As Newest NJ Gambling Website

Barbara Nathan July 14, 2018
ocean resort online casino

Ocean Resort Casino now has an NJ gambling website to go along with the land-based casino that opened June 28 on the site of the former Revel. The website is called Ocean Online Casino.

The site opened for business Tuesday, July 10, but only as a soft launch, not the full offering. On Friday, July 13, continuing through Saturday, July 14, the casino will be wrapping up the soft launch phase which will conclude at midnight Saturday. Over the 24-hour period from noon on Friday up until midnight Saturday, the site will remain open with no interruption.

Ocean Online Casino games

 The current version of Ocean Resort online casino offers the following games:

  • Slots
  • Video poker – seven different varieties
  • Pro Blackjack
  • Roulette Royale

The 61 slots include an eclectic assortment of games from different top manufacturers, some of which are probably already familiar to you and others that will almost certainly be brand new.

Among the well-known slots, you may have already played are games like Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, Cleopatra, Pixies of the Forest, and Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme, just to name a few.

However, anyone looking for a new slot experience won’t be disappointed either. There are 10 brand new games that are exclusive to Ocean Resort online casino.

The casino also lists jackpots as a game category. However, no progressive jackpot slots are available on the site as yet.

More games expected

Altogether, the grand total so far is only 70 games.

That isn’t very many, but keep in mind this is only a soft launch, so expect many more games to be added, hopefully in the near future. In the meantime, by logging in and playing now, you can get a good initial idea of what this online casino has to offer.

Play is for Real Money only

It would be nice, at least during the soft launch period, if free play were an option. That way players could test the waters with no risk or obligation. However, all of the games are for real money play only.

Ocean Online Casino promotions

If you would like to try your luck in the new Ocean Resort’s online casino, you can. But first things first. Before you can start playing, you need to go to the website and sign up on the form provided. Ocean Online Casino is ready to welcome you aboard with two very generous offers.

$125 Welcome Week Bonus

Ocean Online Casino describes this bonus as the biggest no deposit welcome bonus in New Jersey.

Here’s what you need to do to get it:

  1. Sign up for a new Ocean Online Casino account. As soon as you do, you will get an instant $10 bonus!
  2. On the same day you sign up, wager $10 on slots. You will then receive a second $10 bonus on day two.
  3. Continue wagering your daily bonus once, making sure it’s on the specified games only, in order to get another bonus the next day until day eight, which is the last bonus day.

Wagering requirements for the Welcome Week Bonus

On days 1-5, the bonus amount is $10 daily, but for the last three days of bonuses, the amount increases to $25. Also note, that for each day, the casino is very specific about which games you are permitted to play. Here is that information, as indicated on the NJ online casino’s website:

  • Day 1: $10 free slot play
  • Day 2: $10 free table games
  • Day 3: $10 free on all games
  • Day 4: $10 video poker
  • Day 5: $10 free roulette
  • Day 6: $25 free on all games
  • Day 7: $25 free on all games
  • Day 8: $25 free play at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City

The $25 free play bonus awarded on day eight is available to any player with an online account who also opens an account at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City. This bonus will still be awarded even if the player has not received the other Welcome Week bonuses.

Other terms and conditions

 Additional terms and conditions apply, as indicated below.

  • When wagering each daily bonus 1x, individual wagers cannot exceed $3.
  • Each day’s 1x bonus wagering requirement must be completed before 11:59 p.m. the same day it is awarded. Otherwise, the next day’s bonus is forfeited.
  • In addition, in order to have access to any winnings from the 1x bonus wagers, any applicable winnings are first subject to a 30x wagering requirement for slots or a substantially higher wagering requirement if any other game is chosen (60x winnings for roulette or 300x winnings for any other game). The casino’s website does not specify a time limit for meeting this wagering requirement, and according to a representative in Customer Support, there isn’t any.

Up to $10,000 first deposit bonus at Ocean Resort online casino

In addition to the Welcome Week Bonuses, which are offered to new Ocean Online players just for signing up, with no deposit required, the casino has another set of bonuses which kick in once you make your first deposit.

Once again, the casino describes this offer as the biggest first deposit bonus in New Jersey.

It should be noted, however, that just like the other set of bonuses potentially adding up to $125, you get the money piecemeal rather than all at once. And each additional  bonus installment requires an additional deposit and, of course, additional wagering requirements.

How to participate in the first deposit promotion

In order to be eligible for this bonus, here is what you need to do:

  • Log in to your OceanOnlineCasino.com account. Then go to Promotions and click on the “Opt-In” button for this promotion.
  • Then make your first deposit. This will entitle you to Bonus No. 1: 100 percent match of your deposit up to $100.
  • Then opt-in again and make another deposit three days later, when Bonus No. 2 is unlocked, to receive that bonus: 100 percent match of your deposit up to $200!
  • Keep opting in and making a new deposit the same day your next part of the bonus is unlocked so you can get that bonus money, too.

This is how — but only after a total of 10 separate deposits — you can get up to $10,000 in bonus money.

  • Bonus 1: 100% deposit match up to $100 on first deposit
  • Bonus 2: 100% deposit match up to $200 on deposit 3 days after deposit 1
  • Bonus 3: 100% deposit match up to $350 on deposit 3 days after deposit 2
  • Bonus 4: 100% deposit match up to $500 on deposit 4 days after deposit 3
  • Bonus 5: 100% deposit match up to $750 on deposit 4 days after deposit 4
  • Bonus 6: 100% deposit match up to $1,000 on deposit 7 days after deposit 5
  • Bonus 7: 100% deposit match up to $1,250 on deposit 7 days after deposit 6
  • Bonus 8: 100% deposit match up to $1,500 on deposit 7 days after deposit 7
  • Bonus 9: 100% deposit match up to $1,850 on deposit 7 days after deposit 8
  • Bonus 10: 100% deposit match up to $2,500 on deposit 7 days after deposit 9

It is important to note that these bonuses are sequential. If anywhere along the line, a qualifying deposit is not made on precisely the indicated day, no further bonuses in the sequence will be forthcoming.

First deposit bonus wagering requirements

Each installment of the bonus is subject to the same 30x bonus wagering requirement for slots (but 60x bonus for roulette and 300x bonus for any other game) that Ocean Online Casino lists for the winnings from the Welcome Week Bonus. Until a bonus is fully cleared, the bonus, the deposit tied to the bonus, and any resulting winnings will not be available for withdrawal.

Given the astronomically high wagering requirements for clearing the bonus with any game other than slots, players are advised to treat each part of the bonus as a slot bonus only.

Allotted time to clear the bonus not mentioned

There is no mention on the website how much time players have to clear each part of the bonus. I thought it might need to be cleared by no later than the due date for the next deposit in order to get the next part of the bonus, but decided to call Customer Support to verify if that was indeed the case.

Much to my surprise, the representative who took my call said that there is no time limit for completing the wagering requirements to clear each part of the bonus. I also asked if a player could receive the next part of the bonus even if the previous part has not yet been fully cleared and was told that was true.

Likewise, according to this Ocean Online Casino Customer Support worker, there is no time limit either for meeting the 30x wagering requirement for the winnings from the Welcome Week Bonus.

Limit deposits and wagers to what you can afford

By the way, because every part of the bonus is a full 100 percent match of your deposit, in order to receive the $10,000 maximum bonus, the total amount you need to deposit is also $10,000. The total amount you would need to wager (on slots) to clear $10,000 in bonus money is $300,000.

Obviously, these amounts are way beyond the capability of the vast majority of players. So be guided accordingly. Opt into the offer, limit your deposits and wagering to what you can comfortably afford. The minimum deposit is only $10.

Other Ocean Online Casino promotions

In addition to the Welcome Week and first deposit bonuses, once you join and start playing, other promotions that may interest you include a Refer a Friend promotion and a July, August, and September leaderboard for a chance for a weeklong free stay in an Ocean Resort Casino Suite.

Details are provided on the casino’s website.

Other good news is that online players who sign up for a player’s rewards card at Ocean Resort Casino will have their online and offline play linked, which will help them get bigger rewards faster.

Customer support        

Ocean Resort online casino offers round the clock customer support to answer any questions you may have, whether about the sign-up process or any of the games and promotions. You can access this service by live chat, phone, or email 24/7.

Phone: 1-866-850-1186

Email: [email protected]

Bring On The Fireworks! Hard Rock, Ocean Resort Host Double Casino Openings

Barbara Nathan June 27, 2018
fireworks

Circle Thursday, June 28 on your calendar, if you haven’t already, and, if you want to be part of history in the making, come to Atlantic City. Later you will look back on this unforgettable day and proudly say you got to experience first hand the unprecedented double debut of two new casinos — Hard Rock and Ocean Resort!

The last time a new casino opened in Atlantic City was in 2012, with the debut of the Revel, and we all know what happened to that $2 billion debacle. Then, over the next few years, what made the local headlines was not new casino openings but casino closings.

Atlantic City had a record four in 2014, including not only the Revel, but also the Hilton, Showboat, and Trump Plaza — followed by the Trump Taj Mahal in 2016. That left us with only seven casinos remaining, but seven proved to be a lucky number, and way sooner than the skeptics thought possible, Atlantic City was on the rise again.

Now Atlantic City is about to experience an even bigger rebirth. For starters, Atlantic City finally has legal sports betting. But wait— there’s more. June 28 marks the long-awaited grand opening of two new casinos — Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino.

It’s the first time in Atlantic City history that two casinos are opening on the exact same day. Bring on the fireworks!

How Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casinos came to be

Although Showboat reopened as a non-casino hotel, the proliferation of closed casinos along the Atlantic City Boardwalk was not a pretty sight.  And for all the of people who lost their jobs, as a result, they were a sad reminder of the thousands of others in the same boat.

However, with the announcement that two new casinos were planning to open this summer, hope was on the horizon.

The former Trump Taj Mahal had a buyer and so did the former Revel

Ever since Hard Rock purchased the former Trump Taj Mahal in March 2017, the excitement and anticipation that the news brought to this town have been unlike anything Atlantic City has experienced in years. The opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino couldn’t happen soon enough.

Then, in January 2018, just when many people were on the verge of giving up hope that Revel’s replacement — then named TEN — would ever open, the incredible happened. It was announced that another company, Ocean Walk, headed by Bruce Deifik, had purchased the property from then-owner Glenn Straub, and after extensive renovations, modifications, and enhancements would rebrand it as Ocean Resort Casino, with a projected summer 2018 opening.

Both casinos decide to open on the same day

On April 18, Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen officially announced that the grand opening of the resort was “set in stone” for Thursday, June 28.

That announcement was soon followed by rumors that Ocean Resort Casino was also planning to open June 28, but confirmation didn’t come until May 7 when the resort’s CEO Frank Leone officially announced that Ocean Resort Casino would indeed open on June 28.

Leone confidently described Ocean Resort as “a culmination of all our planning and… a special day for Atlantic City as it turns the page on a new chapter of revitalization.” And when asked whether Ocean Resort Casino would be ready to open on June 28 (less than six months after purchasing the property), the response was, “Absolutely!”

However, apart from all the last-minute construction, hiring, and other details that still needed to be worked out at both places, there was another problem. Both resorts still needed a license!

Hard Rock Atlantic City, Ocean Resort get casino licenses

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Hard Rock was granted a license on May 9. After listening to testimony from key executives, the decision of the Casino Control Commission was unanimous.

The combination of the company’s financial stability, longstanding record of success operating other casinos both in the US and abroad, focus not just on gambling but on quality entertainment, and obvious commitment to the Atlantic City community made approval a no-brainer.

Ocean Resort Casino

Ocean Resort Casino was also granted a license, but not until June 21, one week before opening day.

Winning the Commission over wasn’t easy, and it took two days of testimony and deliberations before it ruled in the casino’s favor.

Approval was conditional

Even then, the license came with a long list of conditions from state regulators at the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Most importantly, the Commission needed more assurance of the company’s financial stability.

One would think that laying out $200 million to purchase the property and nearly $50 million more to renovate it would have been convincing enough, but it is important to keep in mind two very important facts.

Deifik and the parent company, Ocean Walk, don’t have the many years of experience that Hard Rock could claim successfully operating other casinos. In fact, they have none. Secondly, the Commission clearly did not want a repetition of the same financial blunders that were made with the Revel.

So their cautious approach is understandable.

What convinced the Commission to grant Ocean Resort Casino a license

Fortunately, Ocean Resort’s top executives were able to allay the commission’s fears.

Chief Financial Officer Alan Greenstein said that the resort anticipates getting about 10.5 percent of the Atlantic City market during its first year of operation and 12 percent by 2021. He also predicted that during its first year the property would take in $292 million in gambling revenue and $127 in non-gaming revenue.

Leone mentioned Ocean Resort’s willingness to listen to and address the frequent complaints of guests at the Revel. The previous ban on smoking and minimum two-night stay requirement for overnight guests have been lifted, and the obstructive wall on the Boardwalk side of the property has been removed and replaced with an accessible entrance.

Leone promised “an unwavering commitment to exceeding guests expectations.”

Deifik echoed those sentiments and mentioned the partnership with Hyatt Hotels and unique amenities that the resort will offer like free parking, the 7,500 square foot state-of-the-art sportsbook in the works with partner William Hill, and the largest indoor TopGolf Swing Suite in North America. He predicted that Ocean Resort will “surprise the world.”

The Commission was duly impressed, and Ocean Resort Casino finally got its license.

What to expect at Hard Rock and Ocean Resort casinos opening day

Both casino hotels held “soft openings” on Monday and Tuesday, June 25-26 where invited guests had the opportunity to test the waters, stay overnight, and sample the resort’s games, restaurants, and other amenities. This is a traditional practice when new casinos are about to open to give the facilities a chance to fine-tune details and make sure everything will run smoothly when they open to the public.

Meanwhile, state regulators also have the opportunity to conduct inspections to ensure compliance.

Both soft openings were a success and both casinos were not only given the go-ahead to hold their grand openings June 28 as scheduled but to open to the public on June 27 — a day early — which they did!

Hard Rock

Hard Rock planned to be the first of the two casinos to open on June 28, which is only fitting, given that long before Ocean Resort even came into the picture, it was hard at work doing what needed to be done to make the crowning achievement a reality.

Back in April, Allen said: “If we can’t do it right, we’re not going to do it.” Now they have done it, and from all indications, they have done it right.

What to do opening day

At 11 a.m. a grand opening guitar smashing ceremony will take place in the Hard Rock LIVE Mark Etess Theater.

After that, you’re free to play in the casino, hit the beach, and sample any of the many open restaurants and lounges or, in other words, spend the day and evening however you please. You can also enjoy special amenities unique to the Hard Rock like the Rock Shop, Rock Spa & Salon, and Body Rock Fitness Center.

You won’t be able to place any sports bets at the Hard Rock Atlantic City — at least not yet, but with 2,100 slots and 120 table games to choose from, you will find all the action you need. Being bored is not an option!

But when it gets close to 10 p.m., it’s your cue to stop whatever you’re doing (unless you’re in the midst of a super hot roll of the dice or are waiting to be paid a huge slots jackpot) and head straight to the Boardwalk to watch the fireworks.

Dining options

Do set aside time to eat while you are at Hard Rock. This casino offers a big enough variety in dining choices to satisfy virtually anyone’s tastes and cravings.

Those who visited and dined at the Trump Taj Mahal will be happy to see that the famed Il Mulino is back. Other fine dining options include the Japanese restaurant Kuro and the Chinese restaurant Song. Or for the freshest seafood in town, Council Oak Fish should fit the bill perfectly. The new eatery boasts a music lounge and wine tasting room along with an open kitchen and beach views. Obviously, if you wish to dine at any of the foregoing places, reservations are in order.

However, if you prefer a more casual restaurant, don’t worry. Hard Rock has plenty of options in that category—starting with the most obvious choice, Hard Rock Café. This place is  set up to do double duty as an entertainment venue, so we recommend timing your visit accordingly to coincide with one of the free performances there (see the entertainment schedule below). Other casual dining options include the Fresh Harvest Buffet and the YOUYU Noodle Bar.

Opening weekend entertainment

Hard Rock Atlantic City has promised no less than 300 nights of entertainment during its first year and, true to its word, is wasting no time getting started. Here is what is on tap — and all free of charge — just for June 28.

  • 12 p.m. Lobby Bar – Johnny O
  • 1 p.m. Hard Rock Café Boardwalk Stage – Song Blast
  • 1 p.m. Beach Bar – Smashed Band
  • 3:30 p.m. Lobby Bar – Nicole Henry
  • 4 p.m. Hard Rock Café Boardwalk Stage – Jerry Blavat
  • 6 p.m. Lobby Bar – Matt Giraud
  • 7 p.m. Lobby Bar – Spencer Battiest
  • 8 p.m. Beach Bar – Quinn
  • 9 p.m. Hard Rock Café Boardwalk Stage – Phil Sendek
  • 9:30 p.m. Council Oak Lounge – Nick Fradiani (2015 American Idol winner)
  • 9:30 p.m. Lobby Bar – Groove Marmalade
  • 10 p.m. Hard Rock Café – Frankie Moreno

Of course, there will be a lot more great lounge entertainment all weekend long. You can check the complete lineup here.

However, 10 p.m. is still early, so at  DAER Nightclub at Hard Rock that can only mean one thing. The party is just getting started! Here’s the entertainment lineup for the first three nights: Thursday: Michael B. Jordan, Friday: Tiesto, Saturday: Ludacris.

In addition. Hard Rock spared no expense to bring in two major headline entertainers for this weekend: Carrie Underwood at 8 p.m. Friday night and Pitbull at 8 p.m. Saturday night. The Carrie Underwood show is reportedly sold out, but if you can still get tickets for either show, expect to pay premium prices.

Ocean Resort Casino

Ocean Resort Casino will have its grand opening at 1 p.m, a mere two hours after the Hard Rock guitar smashing. But if you want to attend the opening day festivities at both casinos, no problem. The two casinos are within an easy walking distance of each other. Hard Rock is at 1000 Boardwalk and Ocean Resort is at 500 Boardwalk.

Ocean Resort Casino has not been as forthcoming as Hard Rock about what special events and festivities it has in store for the massive crowds coming to check the place opening weekend. However, the up side is the added fun of hopefully being pleasantly surprised.

Guests can who would like to try their luck in the casino can choose from 2,000 slot machines, more than 100 table games, and eight poker tables, and sports betting is yet another option. You read right. While the new 7,500-square-foot state-of-the-art sportsbook won’t be ready for about another six weeks, the casino will be taking sports bets in a temporary location starting June 28.

Dining options

Hopefully, you will set aside time for a good meal while you’re at Ocean Resort Casino because like Hard Rock, this resort offers some excellent choices. Here are some you might consider:

 Upscale dining (reservations are necessary)

  • Amada – Jose Garces’ famous restaurant for Spanish cuisine
  • American Cut – Marc Forgione’s steakhouse
  • Dolce Mare – Italian cuisine

 Casual dining

  • Café 500 – open 24/7
  • Distrito – Mexican street food
  • Sky Café – for lunch or dinner on the pool deck or overlooking the ocean
  • Villain & Saint – if you like rock ‘n’ roll with your food
  • Zhen Bang – for noodles and sushi

Opening weekend entertainment

Ocean Resort Casino is planning lots of top entertainment for the opening weekend. In fact, according to the Press of Atlantic City, actor and comedian Jamie Foxx, will be on hand to host the festivities. Diplo will perform at HQ2 Nightclub and Beachclub on Friday, June 29, followed by Jermaine Dupri and Kaskade on Saturday, and Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano on Sunday.

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