How Many Casinos Exist in Atlantic City?
There are dozens of casino companies that exist in Atlantic City today. They run both a casino gaming floor along with a hotel, and are often referred to as resorts. Presently, the state has 22 legal online casinos NJ. Meanwhile, there are nine casino properties that still operate as brick-and-mortar, bringing the total number of casino options in the Garden State to 31.
This is a remarkable feat given that you can go and enjoy NJ gambling online or in-person, something that not many states can say they currently offer. This unique competitive edge has turned the state into one of the premier gaming destinations across the United States, but also for international tourists and travel.
Operating Atlantic City Casinos in 2022
The history of Atlantic City casinos goes back 40 years. As such, you can expect that some companies are no longer in operation, some have been sold and others fell into disrepute and had to shut down. Modern industry history has been mostly clean of such incidents not least because of tighter controls.
To be perfectly honest, in recent years only three casinos have closed in Atlantic City. We will now take a closer look at the land-based properties we mentioned previously, and catch you up on why only 9 of them are operational today. It’s a competitive market, and the best companies are likely to put the ones faring worse off out of business.
Bally’s Casino is located straight on the Boardwalk. It’s one of the most iconic properties you will find in the city and it was originally founded in 1906 when construction for the casino began. The Bally’s Corporation is the one that currently owns and operates the casino. It’s a prime example of a great land-based venue with tons of gaming options to tourists who come to the casino to enjoy a hearty recreational session.
In 1997, the casino got a lean-on expansion known as the Wild Wild West Casino. It emulates the American Old West and has faux gold mines to really get you in the spirit of things. The property was most recently renovated between 2015 and 2016 and comes with all the great options that you can expect from a prime venue.
It’s an interesting fact to know that the Wild Wild West Casino’s property (not the casino operations) are run by Caesars Entertainment. The casino’s open 24 hours, features a number of excellent dining options such as Guy Fieri, Red Bowl 88, Carluccio’s Pizza, and so much more. The hotel comes with various amenities and room packages, with 1,200 rooms. The casino has 83,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,300 slot machines.
Borgata Owned by MGM Resorts
So far as casinos in Atlantic City go, the Borgata is an important fixture in the landscape. It’s one of the most prominent hotel, casino and spa properties in the gaming heartland of New Jersey and it’s also owned by Vici Properties, but operated by MGM Resorts International.
The casino and hotel come with close to 2,800 rooms which is the largest in terms of hospitality capacity in the Garden State. The Borgata was originally introduced in 2003 and has been a champion of excellent gaming experiences.
Speaking of that, the property features 161,000 sq ft of gaming space and comes with thousands of slot gaming machines, dozens of table games and the dedicated Borgata Poker Room. The company has made sure that it offers at least 180 table games, 50 poker tables, and 4,000 slot machines as mentioned. The casino is open 24/7.
Caesars Owned by Caesars Entertainment
Casinos in Atlantic City can definitely look up to the Caesars Atlantic City, a property operated by the namesake conglomerate which has brought Ancient Rome to life in New Jersey. People who are new to the hotel, casino and spa resort will probably find it a bit overwhelming at first, because of the faux Roman décor and general grandeur.
Since it opened on June 26, 1979, the property has had one single property – to impress and compel visitors to enter its doors. The casino offers as much as 124,720 sq ft of gaming space, which is a lot. It comes up with 3,400 slot machines, which is definitely one of the most impressive options. The property further features 135 table games which is definitely a nice addition.
Without a doubt, out of all Atlantic City casinos NJ has to offer, Caesars is one of the most impressive properties and well worth visiting. The casino is open 24/7.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City – Built by Hilton Hotels
Next on the list we have the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. This aptly-named property is definitely one of the most prominent casinos and hotel options to visit. It has a dedicated marina which makes it a unique experience in the AC landscape and offers visitors access to innovative forms of entertainment.
The hotel originally opened back in 1985 as Trump’s Castle and was later renamed to Trump marina in 1997. The name Trump did not bode well for the property which was eventually bought by Landry’s Inc which owns the property to this very date and has transformed it into a great business.
The property was renovated in 1997, 2006 and most recently in 2011 when the casino was last bought by its new owner, so a renovation is certainly due. The total gaming space at the Golden Nugget is 74,252 which creates a cozier experience than the other behemoths in the market. Making a deposit at the Golden Nugget is simple and you will definitely appreciate this casino! The casino is open 24/7.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Today’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is located in the stead of the Trump Taj Mahal, a notorious casino project run by former US President Donald Trump which proved to be an unfortunate project after all. Luckily for those who love Atlantic City casinos, Hard Rock took over in 2018 and made sure that the renewed property had all of its brand’s distinct markings.
Today, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is one of the best venues in the city, located at 1000 Broadwalk and operating as much as 167,000 sq ft of gaming space. The original building was erected for the total price tag of $1 billion, a sizable investment no doubt. However, the previous owner’s bankruptcy filings allowed Hard Rock to position itself on the highly-lucrative gaming market in NJ.
Harrah’s Resort and Casino
Harrah’s Resort and Casino originally opened back on November 22, 1980, or some 41 years ago at the time of writing. The property is one of only three (along with Borgata and Golden Nugget) to be located in the marina district. These Atlantic City casinos opened with the idea of bringing some great recreation to visitors and so they have.
So far as the Harrah’s AC goes, the property features 160,000 of dedicated gaming space which is a lot. The venue is of course packed with thousands of slots. In fact, there are some 5,600 slots to choose from, and this is a huge offer even by Atlantic City’s standards.
Players will also have 140-odd tables to pick from and if anything, there are 40 dedicated tables which host the World Series of Poker, which is fantastic. The property has a rich history and is one of the best companies on the market. The casino is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Caesars. The property features a number of restaurants including Coastal Craft Kitchen & Bar, McCormick & Schmick’s, Gordon Ramsay Steak and more.
The property also comes with no fewer than 2,587 rooms for its hotel, which is one of the biggest counts in AC!
Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort Casino, formerly known as Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City, is one of the most iconic in the city. It is actually a fairly new arrival and was built in 2012, so you can’t say that it’s really seen as much as the other properties, but we still maintain that the Ocean Resort Casino is a great modern-looking property.
The gaming space covered by the casino goes up to 130,000 square feet – quite impressive and on par with most great properties. Ocean Casino AC though relies on more spacious outlays and only features 2,500 slot machines creating more freedom to move and enjoy the interior and décor.
The property also comes with 120 table games which is a nice addition that makes a lot of sense and adds to the fun you could get out of your stay with this casino. You can also enjoy betting here! The casino is open 24/7, it’s owned by AC Ocean Walk and comes with 1,399 hotel rooms. The property features a number of great restaurants, including Dolce Mara, American Cut and Amada.
Resorts Casino Hotel
Resorts Casino Hotel AC is a giant of a building and it will definitely make an impression on you. It was built all the way back in 1904 when the property was opened, making it one of the biggest properties contemporaries saw at the time. Originally, the property operated as the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall, a hotel.
Then, in 1978, the property was transformed into the casino we know today. The property was renovated in 1998, 2002, 2011, and most recently in 2016. It’s owned by the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment in terms of gaming operating license and the DGMB Casinos group in terms of property.
One of its signatures, other than the 100,000 sq ft of gaming space, is the Platinum Place Slots. The property is still one of the most frequented and busiest, whether it’s about gaming, hospitality or dining experiences. The casino property is open 24/7. The property features great restaurants with Dougherty’s Steakhouse, Breadsticks Cafe & Grill, and Eastwind Chinese Restaurant & Noodle Bar.
Tropicana Casino and Resort
Tropicana Casino and Resort is another flagship property in New Jersey owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties in terms of the brick-and-mortar venue and operated by Caesars Entertainment insofar as the casino is concerned.
The casino features 130,000 sq ft of gaming space. It is an amazing option for those of you who wish to enjoy a spot-on gaming experience. Tropicana offers both an online casino and the retail experience, which will dovetail nicely and make it so much better for you to explore your favorite gaming options.
With more than 3,000 slot machines and 132 table games, this casino is definitely one of the prime properties to visit in the state. It just beckons to the casual gambler and the tourist who wants to make use of the great hotel and numerous amenities and dining options located on the resort’s property. Check it out. Tropicana is open 24/7 and located at 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, United States.
Closed Casinos at Atlantic City
Even though there is a lot of money in the gambling business in New Jersey, some Atlantic City casinos shut down. Today, there are fewer properties than there were several years ago and this is normal. After all, some companies simply cannot keep up. While some blame the arrival of NJ online poker sites, NJ sportsbooks or even digital casinos, individual shutdowns mostly have to do with bad management, as the Trump Taj Mahal demonstrated.
There are four properties that ended up shuttered and repurposed or opening under entirely new brands. These are the Sands, Showboat Casino, Trump Plaza (which had a tower and was demolished), and The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. Three of these closed in 2014, which was the result of the economic situation and the fact that some companies simply performed so much better.
The shuttering of these properties did not harm the overall love or potential of the industry. To better understand those events, we have taken a look at each individual closure in the lines below.
The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel - Closed in 2014
This one majestic property shuttered in 2014. It operated at the end of the Atlantic City Broadwalk since December 12, 1980, and had an impressive history. It buzzed with life for more than 30 years, but eventually came to an unflattering end with the owner, Colony Capital, filing for bankruptcy protection.
Before it was known as Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, the property actually operated as a Golden Nugget property instead from 1980-1987. Then the property was briefly transformed as Bally’s Grand from 1987-1996. One way or another, the property’s name and fortunes kept changing. It was known as Hilton Hotel from 1996 through 2011 and was acquired by Colony Capital and transformed into the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. It never stuck though and came to an end.
Sands - Closed in 2006
Sands Atlantic City is another property that is no longer part of the city’s landscape for better or for worse. The company ran the casino from 1980 through 2006, but eventually had to fold under financial pressure and long-term prospects of limited profitability. Previously known as Brighton Hotel & Casino, the new Sands property was a go-getter from the start.
It negotiated well with neighboring businesses and created interesting tourist attractions. It wanted to create a moving elevated walk and bring more visitors from the Broadwalk but unfortunately, the casino’s position did impede with some of its immediate plans for profitability and making its offer financially feasible and stable.
Sands enjoyed a number of famous people visiting it over its two-decade lifespan, including Bob Dylan, Robin Williams, and so many others.
Showboat - Closed in 2014
The Showboat was another prominent property in the casino world that joined the list of casinos closed in Atlantic City. It opened back in 1987 and ran through 2014 when it filed for bankruptcy protection, and was bought by a college. The Hotel and Bowling Center were first to arrive back at the onset, but gradually, the property turned its gaze to casino operations. It actually built and opened the first city racebook back in 1993, and for all intents and purposes the property is quite storied.
Much of its problems though were attributed to the property investing too heavily into its bowling venues, and that began declining sooner rather than later. The property would have done well in honesty, but Caesars Entertainment, which owned it, decided to shutter the Showboat, even though it was turning a property.
The company was forced to do that because it wanted to ensure that its other properties remained financially feasible.
Trump Plaza - Closed in 2014
The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino actually caused quite a stir when it shuttered in 2014. The property’s failure came with union workers’ strikes. Regardless, the property just didn’t make it in the end. The hotel and casino opened doors on May 15, 1984, and ran through September 16, 2014, when it filed for bankruptcy.
Many attribute the property’s decline to a refusal to try and innovate and do better. Competition was also growing. The property was getting issues with generating revenue and pouring it back into operations successfully. Then the sister property, the Trump Taj Mahal arrived, and it was really not doing that great. Both properties were one mile from each other which made it a bizarre business choice.
A History of Land Based Casinos in Atlantic City
How did it all start and more importantly – when? Casinos (or at least the properties they occupy) have been around for more than a century, since the 1900s, but how was the gaming heartland born?
It really all started back in 1976, when voters held a referendum and agreed to amend the state’s constitution so that New Jersey could try to compete with Nevada and attract tourists. Most people, liberal and supportive of new things in New Jersey and beyond, were very happy to make the arrival of casinos possible.
The first one to open was Resorts International back on May 28, 1978, and this would start a bigger process. Casinos quickly started arriving. Some began occupying already existing properties, but others wanted a clean slate and they brought substantial capital, construction jobs and permanent jobs after constructions were finalized.
In fact, New Jersey is the second state in the US to have legalized land-based casinos after Nevada. The truth is that the true expansion of the land-based sector began in the 1970s and continued through the 1980s.
The Showboat Casino Hotel opened in 1987. Then the Trump Taj Mahal Casino opened in 1990. Interestingly, both the Showboat and Trump Taj Mahal didn’t make it as most recent events demonstrated. The history of the casino industry in AC is storied, and you are welcome to do your own digging!