ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — With COVID-19 restrictions limiting how many people can gamble inside, and revenue and profits plunging, this might not sound like the best time for Atlantic City’s casinos to be spending big on renovations.
And yet they are, looking to a post-pandemic future when gamblers will be looking for the latest thing. They're investing hundreds of millions of dollars with those days in mind.
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The latest to open the corporate checkbook is Hard Rock, which told The Associated Press on Monday it will spend $20 million to renovate hotel suites, open a Starbucks outlet, purchase new slot machines and tables games, add a new restaurant and upgrade its beachfront amenities.
The renovations come in a span of a few weeks in which the Ocean Casino Resort announced it is spending $15 million on upgrades to the casino floor, as well as outdoor amenities like pools, cabanas and the beach, and Harrah's unveiled three new restaurants, a new spa and a renovated lobby bar.
Harrah's parent company, Caesars Entertainment, recently outlined specifics of the $400 million it pledged New Jersey gambling regulators it would make at its three Atlantic City casinos (Caesars, Harrah's and Tropicana) during last year's change-of-ownership hearings.
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And Bally's Corp. is plowing $90 million back into the Atlantic City casino of the same name that it acquired from Caesars Entertainment last year.
Both those investments will span three years.
Hard Rock is opening its wallet less than three years after spending a half-billion dollars to gut the former Trump Taj Mahal casino and turn it into a Hard Rock casino resort.