A former gaming property that has changed hands quite a few times over the past few years has finally been brought back to life as a non-gaming establishment. Showboat Atlantic City opened its doors introducing a 7 million USD investment in the form of an arcade named the Lucky Snake inside the former casino property. The Showboat owner, Bart Blatstein believes that there is a demand for non-gaming in Atlantic city and that he is ready to satisfy that craving. Atlantic City is famous for its casino industry and Blatstein has considered joining the fold before, but opted for a more family-friendly option that should draw tons of attention.
Blatstein has gone all out to bring the best forms of arcade gaming to Atlantic City, all in one place. The property has been described as the largest arcade in New Jersey and features over 300 games. Additionally, the property does cater to the more mature population as it also has a boxing ring, sports bar, live entertainment stages, e-sports gaming options and a speakeasy. The latter pays tribute to the history and role the town played during prohibition. In a statement, Blatstein asked if there was ever a better way to kick off the Showboat resort that is family-friendly and also home to the largest sports bar and arcade in New Jersey.
The entertainment and arcade area is measured at 85,000-square-feet and plays host to options for all ages. The options offered range from classic to modern such as Pac-Man, claw machines, Skee-Ball and also games that involve virtual reality, if visitors are not up to feeling nostalgic. Blatstein added that at times, people walk out of the movie theatre without enjoying the movie. People leave casinos even though they did not have a good time, especially when players experience a financial loss. However, when it comes to an arcade, no one doesn’t love one and visitors are bound to find something they enjoy.
The reopening of the Showboat has been a long time in the making. Blatstien’s Tower Investment real estate company bought the Showboat from Stockton University for 18 million USD back in 2016. The school had plans to use the resort’s 1,300 guest rooms as campus housing. However, Stockton was unable to obtain the permits to carry out that type of development. The casino was initially closed in 2014 when Caesars Entertainment decided to reduce competition for its other gaming properties in the town. Stockton procured the property from Caesars Entertainment before Blatstein took it off their hands.
When Blatstein first acquired the property, his plans seemed to suggest that he was looking for a way to get around the deed restrictions put in place by Caesars to ensure that the Showboat never again houses a casino. The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved Blatsteins request to divide and rezone the property so that it would reflect as new lots of record, which means that new deeds would be assigned to the new lots. Additionally, Blatstein was then able to obtain a certificate of compliance issued by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in the same year the property was rezoned.
Many people suspected that a new casino would be built as the certificate of compliance is one of the first hurdles to overcome when becoming licensed to operate a gaming property in Atlantic City. Many analysts and casino industry stakeholders began to speculate if Blatstein would be building a new structure over the beach volleyball courts and placing gaming tables and slot machines inside. None of these speculations ever came true as Blatstein was fully focused on non-casino gaming and providing these options to residents and visitors of Atlantic City.
Even after the launch of the arcade, Blatstein has no intention of slowing down and developing the property even further. The aim Blatstein has for the Showboat is to make it the first true family resort in Atlantic City that people want to visit all year round. He added that the Lucky Snake arcade is just the start of what’s to come. As a display of his dedication to the project, Blatstein will use 2.5 million USD worth of annual tax credits he has secured over the past 20 years from the CRDA. The funds will be used to build an indoor water park and the project is estimated to cost around 100 million USD. The waterpark is what will actually replace the beach volleyball courts at the location.
Furthermore, Blatstein is currently working on adding a beer garden located outdoors as well as a Boardwalk extension that leads off to a large sundeck among the sand dunes. The plans for the additions are estimated to cost the owner 29 million USD. Blatstein is also confident about the future of Atlantic city saying that its best days are still on their way. He added that when he reads the press at times, he remains confused and says that they do not realize the potential that Atlantic City has without adding more options to the casino gaming industry.