This summer is crucial Atlantic City while he tries to regain lost business in the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, casinos and non-gaming resorts are investing millions in renovations and new rides to compete for visitors.

Casino and non-gaming companies are making big investments in what they hope will be a turning point, and customers more than in the previous two years are eager to visit Atlantic City attractions amid an ending pandemic.

“It’s a really important summer for Atlantic City,” said Phil Giuliana, senior vice president of Bally’s Casino, which opened a 360-degree rotating bar and part of the indoor and outdoor beer garden on Thursday. The projects are part of the $ 100 million the company is investing in real estate.

He said Atlantic City was showing signs of growth in early 2020, only to have those hopes dashed by a coronavirus pandemic that closed the casino for 3.5 months in March and led to operating restrictions for more than a year thereafter.

“It’s an interesting summer: you have inflation, you still have COVID and high gas prices, but you also have deferred demand,” Juliana said. “People are coming out again, and we need it.”

Also Thursday, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small announced a $ 6 million federal grant to rebuild a section of the waterfront between Florida and Missouri Avenues that is more than 100 years old. Work will begin in the fall and will be completed next summer.

The Atlantic City casino industry is vital to the economy of southern New Jersey, said Christina Rena, president and CEO of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

“As we continue to recover and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth and prosperity of the industry is more important than ever,” she said.

Atlantic City is entering the summer amid some encouraging signs – and some concerning weaknesses. Total casino revenues and profitability have grown this year, but not all casinos have surpassed the level at which they operated in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

On Saturday, the Showboat Hotel, a former casino, will open its $ 1.5 million indoor go-kart track, even as it works to build a $ 100 million year-round indoor water park for which private funding was secured on Thursday, owner Bart Blatstein said.

He said that his karting course is “another non-playing advantage in a market where only 8% of visitors are families. It’s a way to enter a new market. “

Resorts is working on a multi-million dollar renovation of its outdoor rooftop pool, including a retractable roof and party areas that should be ready in late June. On Friday, Resorts will open Coral Lounge, a new pop-up bar with an underwater theme.

Ocean Casino Resort is at the center of projects worth $ 85 million, including the completion of more than 460 hotel rooms and suites; a new sports bookmaker and living room, as well as several new food and beverage outlets. This summer it also offers bike rental at the main entrance.

Hard rock will spend $ 20 million this year on repairs, including the addition of 70 slot machines and seven more board games; upgrading the conference room, beach bar and staff areas.

This year, Caesars Casino will begin work on a new theater and resident, which is set to open in the first quarter of 2023. The project will include the facade of the former Warner Theater from 1929, which is now part of the exterior of the casino that overlooks the Boardwalk.

In 2022, a new restaurant is also planned in Caesar, which will be opened by a hotel company with actor Robert De Niro, which will also renovate hotel rooms there. Caesars Entertainment is collaborating with Nobu Hospitality for a project to be called the Nobu Hotel Atlantic City.

Tropicana is adding eight new food and beverage outlets this year, and Harrah’s will open three simple restaurants.

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Follow Wayne Perry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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