Earlier this month, Hard Rock International announced that it has set aside a staggering $20 million for renovations at its Atlantic City property. The majority of these funds will be used to renovate 91 of the suites that are available at the Boardwalk casino. This investment into the casino and hotel property comes just five years after Florida’s Seminole tribe, owner of Hard Rock International, forked out well over $500 million to acquire the venue and revamp it accordingly.
Despite its large base of loyal customers and patrons, the Hard Rock Atlantic City property online opened its doors to the integrated resort and hotel in June 2018. The venue, which was shuttered at the time, belonged to one Carl Icahn and was formerly known as the Trump Taj Mahal casino. Considering its location and the passionate gambling masses in Atlantic City, Florida’s Seminole tribe of Indians pounced on the opportunity to purchase the property. Carl Icahn sold the boardwalk property to Hard Rock International for a steal of $50 million. However, there was still much work to be done before Hard Rock was anywhere close to what guests and patrons see today. Hard Rock then invested more than half a billion dollars more to transform what was then an Indian-themed property, complete with minarets, turrets and tacky gold into the popular rock ‘n roll themed resort and gaming destination. It is not uncommon for a company, such as Hard Rock, to turn a failed venture into a hugely successful gaming hub with the correct business strategy and funds to see it through.
Less than five years after this massive cash injection to create the Hard Rock that is seen today, the company will be investing a further $20 million for upgrades and renovations. The gaming resort’s twenty-five Roxy suites and sixty-six celebrity rooms will undergo a facelift. Just recently, all standard rooms were fitted with the latest LED lighting and flat-screen television sets. In addition to the renovations for the 91 rooms, the casino floor could see several new slot machines while patrons could enjoy beach amenities and facilities. There has even been talk that this $20 million investment could get a Starbucks down to the boardwalk.
While Hard Rock’s investment is noteworthy because of how early on the company has opted to revisit the venue, the Seminole Tribe is not alone in trying to improve the gambling experience in Atlantic City. Atlantic City’s 9 casino venues have experienced less than lucrative times over the last few months, which could have been exaggerated if the state had not legalized mobile sports wagering and online gambling activities. Despite these challenges, Atlantic City’s casino operators are more determined than ever and are gearing up for better conditions. Caesars Entertainment invested around $400 million, over a three year period, to upgrade its three Atlantic City properties. Bally’s announced a $90 million renovation plan for its property, which many have noted to be long overdue and much-needed, while just last month, the Ocean Casino Resort shared that it will be investing around $15 million in a property refresh.
Hard Rock President, Joe Lupo, has noted the pattern and has taken to online news sources to share his key thoughts. According to Lupo’s statement, he firmly believes that Atlantic City needs to be reinvigorated. This is especially true since revenue has been declining and there are far fewer visitors in the region to attract. This has led to stiffer competition between operators. He concluded by saying that properties that are in it for the long haul, such as Hard Rock, have wisely decided to invest their dollars now while there is a chance that things could be on the up.
It appears that there is a need for Atlantic City to be reinvigorated and refreshed with newer and better services and amenities. This has been further proven by Bart Blatstein, a showboat owner, who believes that the city has so much more at its disposal to attract visitors besides gambling venues and resorts. Since gambling is a popular practice in certain regions of Atlantic City, Blatstein is looking to create family-friendly entertainment for holidaymakers.
In April this year, Blatstein shared that he has projected a total cost of $129 million to develop his indoor 1000 square-foot waterpark. The Showboat is currently a non-gaming resort and will remain that way, as a result of a deed restriction that was placed on the property when it was sold in 2014. However, Blatstein does not seem to mind this restriction at all and recently shared that the Showboat is going to be the first family-appropriate, year-round resort in the region.