Atlantic City’s latest casinos threw open their doorways to gamblers Wednesday — a day sooner than scheduled.
The beforehand shuttered Hard Rock and the Ocean Resort Casino had been purported to open Thursday, however each obtained permission Wednesday afternoon from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to start full operations, and each instantly began letting gamblers inside.
Both properties nonetheless plan elaborate grand openings Thursday.
David Rebuck, director of the gaming enforcement division, mentioned Hard Rock was cleared for full operations as of three p.m., and Ocean Resort as of 5:45 p.m. Both wasted little time letting gamblers inside — at the same time as they pleaded for individuals to come back to their scheduled grand openings on Thursday.
“I am holding the certificate in my hand, and I couldn’t be happier,” Bruce Deifik, Ocean Resort’s proprietor, advised The Associated Press.
“We are open for business and everyone is welcome right now,” added Frank Leone, the on line casino’s CEO.
Hard Rock, particularly, didn’t need to take away from the influence of its Thursday grand opening, which can embody celebrities and a mass guitar smashing on the Boardwalk earlier than midday.
“People are already coming through the doors,” mentioned Todd Moyer, Hard Rock’s senior vp of promoting. “Our official grand opening is tomorrow and we are still working toward it, but the heavy lifting has been done. I liken it to ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ on cable, where the things they get done in the last few hours are amazing.”
Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, was strolling the on line casino ground, checking on how issues had been going. Here and there, ladders had been hidden behind plastic sheeting the place work was nonetheless not fairly completed. Work was persevering with into the evening on a lodge tower, however Allen mentioned that on the entire, “We’re pretty happy with where we are right now.”
Atlantic City now has 9 casinos; it had 12 earlier than 2014.
The Hard Rock is the previous Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Resort is the previous Revel.
They had been two of the 5 Atlantic City casinos that had shut down since 2014. Together, they are going to restore about 6,000 of the 11,000 jobs that had been misplaced within the shutdowns.
Tom Fortunato, of Lynbrook, New York, got here to Atlantic City not realizing the Hard Rock had opened early, and easily wandered inside.
“It looks great,” mentioned Fortunato, who mentioned he visited the Trump Taj Mahal “more times than I want to admit.”
“It’s incredible what they did with it,” he mentioned.
One placing factor on the on line casino’s very first evening: the absence of any noticeable cigarette scent, with the on line casino solely hours previous.
“It’s really light and fresh in here,” mentioned Paul Wolowski, of Hicksville, New York. “It even smells good in here.”
Those who keep in mind the heavy-handed adorning style of Donald and Ivana Trump from the Taj Mahal days will not acknowledge the place: The row after row of chandeliers dominating the view as patrons would journey the primary escalator all the way down to the on line casino ground are gone, supplanted by a big silver illuminated guitar suspended from the ceiling. Video screens surrounding the escalators play clips of Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Nirvana and Johnny Cash as prospects descend to the on line casino ground.
Music memorabilia is in every single place, from robes worn by Stevie Nicks and Whitney Houston to guitars performed by Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Katy Perry. There’s a leather-based stage outfit worn by Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry.
There’s even a New Jersey memorabilia room, together with the handwritten lyrics to “Dreaming” by Blondie’s Debbie Harry (a Hawthorne native,) together with stuff from Bon Jovi, Wyclef Jean, Southside Johnny, and a Western Union telegram confirming a $20,000 cost for Ray Charles to carry out a live performance on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier in 1978.