How It All Began…
For much of the 20th century, Nevada was the only place within the entire United States to offer legalised casino gambling. As a result, the legendary city of Las Vegas thrived as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The state of Nevada has enjoyed an almost continuous period of economic prosperity ever since the end of the second world war, successfully weathering the storms of the recession that brought so much misery and despair to much of the United States throughout the 1960s and 70s.
The governor of New Jersey at that time, Brendan Byrne, had been keeping a watchful eye on the state of Nevada for many years. He knew that legalised gambling had the potential to revolutionise the economy within his own state, as it had done for Nevada. Governor Byrne faced significant political opposition to his plans, and his first attempt to legalise casino gambling was ultimately unsuccessful when the New Jersey public voted against the proposition in a 1974 referendum. Two years later, a second referendum finally allowed his plans to come to fruition – albeit with casino gaming restricted to Atlantic City, as opposed to being permitted across the whole of New Jersey.
Casino Gaming in Atlantic City – Present Day
Fast forward to 2016 and Governer Byrne’s legacy has changed the face of Atlantic City beyond all recognition. The iconic seaside resort has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in America but the arrival of the casinos has seen its appeal boosted still further, both domestically and internationally. Although several casinos have closed during the past decade, those that remain are now going through a new period of expansion and renovation.
We think that part of the decline that Atlantic City has seen is due to the emerging online casino industry. Players no longer have to leave their home to gamble for real money. Some sites even go as far as offering players mobile slots – the same games You can find in land based casinos across AC, but playable for real cash on Your phone or tablet device!
To help you choose where to stay we have compiled a review of each of the major Atlantic City casino hotels, detailing their gaming options plus on-site amenities such as restaurants, retail outlets, bars and clubs, sport and recreation facilities, and much much more:
* Bally’s – The biggest casino in all of Atlantic City is located in the midtown area and has 1,749 rooms and over 225,000 square feet of gaming space.
* Borgata – The newest of the A.C. resorts boasts a modernism theme and is located in the marina district. It is famous for its high-stakes poker action and offers 2,627 rooms and a 161,000 square foot gaming floor.
* Caesars – This huge resort is decked out in a Roman Empire theme and is revered for its huge range of retail and entertainment facilities. Located in the midtown section of the city, it has 1,141 rooms and a 145,000 square foot casino.
* Golden Nugget – Small but perfectly formed, this marina district resort sports a Gold Rush theme and 727 rooms which are often in short supply during high season. The 80,000 square foot casino offers many progressive jackpot table games and is particularly popular amongst blackjack players.
* Harrah’s – The most family-friendly of the Atlantic City casino hotels is located in the marina district and offers 2,590 rooms. Harrah’s also boasts the widest selection of both slot and table games on its 160,000 square foot casino floor.
* Resorts – The first casino hotel to open in A.C. is still going strong almost forty years later and is a favourite with high stakes players. The resort features a Roaring Twenties theme, 942 bedrooms, and 100,000 square feet of total gaming space.
* Tropicana – The variety of dining, retail, entertainment and nightlife offerings here is quite simply unmatched by any other Atlantic City resort. This Old Havana-themed casino hotel has 2,129 rooms and a 123,980 square foot casino, plus a “GT” grade IMAX theatre.
Things to do in Atlantic City
As the tourism and gaming capital of the East Coast, there’s a huge range of things to do throughout Atlantic City. The world-famous Boardwalk isn’t just home to several of the finest casinos in the whole of America, it also boasts breathtaking ocean views, acclaimed beaches, and a wide range of shopping options from high-end boutiques to “mom and pop” souvenir stores. Those looking to indulge in a spot of retail therapy might want to look further afield, though, as the nearby Tangers Outlets features more than 100 world famous brand name stores including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and DKNY. Not to be outdone, many of the casino hotels also have their own on-site malls such as The Playground at Caesars or The Quarter at Tropicana, all of which feature fashion, footwear, fragrances, jewellery, gifts, and essentials.
You’d be mad to take a trip to this city without putting aside a little time to visit some of its many tourist attractions, the only question is – where to visit first? Here are a few of our favourite suggestions:
* Absecon Lighthouse – One of the tallest lighthouses in the whole of the United States, this beautiful building stands in two acres of public gardens and offers 360-degree views of Atlantic City and the Jersey shore.
* Atlantic City Aquarium – Home to a huge variety of marine animals, many of which are friendly enough to be touched. This is a great place to take children on a day out, and also offers sightseeing cruises and a variety of restaurants and retail outlets.
* Atlantic City Art Center – Filled with drawings, paintings, sculptures and a range of hybrid art forms, The Art Center is a less flamboyant alternative to a traditional art gallery and is sure to captivate the mind of any visitor.
* Atlantic City Cruises – Available seasonally from May through October, A.C. Cruises offer a range of sightseeing adventures around the Atlantic City coast and also cater for corporate outings and private parties.
* Central Pier Arcade & Speedway – This huge family entertainment centre is renowned for its NASCAR-style go-kart track and state-of-the-art video games. A selection of slot and poker machines are available for adults, as well as an on-site paintball arena.
* Haunted Tales – This is an animated theatre that guarantees a spooky day out as you see and hear the tales of the Jersey Devil and the pirates who haunt the waters around Atlantic City to this day. This popular attraction promises to be suitable for all ages and offers group and family discounts.
* IMAX Theatre at The Tropicana – Located within The Quarter on the site of The Tropicana resort, this premium movie theatre houses a “GT” grade IMAX display measuring almost 5,000 square feet! Watching Hollywood blockbusters or IMAX 3D feature films here is simply a breathtaking experience.
* OC Waterpark – The perfect destination for a family day out, this popular attraction is located on the Ocean City Boardwalk and features a host of water slides, wave pools, and children’s play areas, plus rock climbing facilities, “Extreme Air Jumping”, and an on-site golf course.
* Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum – With over 400 fascinating exhibits ranging from the somewhat unusual all the way to the downright unbelievable, this amazing and kooky museum will capture the attention of both adults and children of all ages.
* Steel Pier – This miniature theme park welcomes thousands of guests every day, offering a selection of amusements, thrill rides, entertainment and novelty acts, and of course, plenty of games of skill and chance to challenge visitors.
Bars & Nightclubs
Such is the diversity and success of Atlantic City’s nightlife, its bars and clubs attract thousands of visitors from neighbouring states and cities every weekend. It’s the perfect place to party, drink, and dance to the sounds of the best DJs and live acts in all of America. Start your night at one of Atlantic City’s award-winning restaurants, and return to your luxurious hotel once the lights go down. A wide range venues cater for all atmospheres and tastes, many of which are located on the sites of the large casino resorts. You won’t have to look far to find your perfect evening’s entertainment here, but if you are short on inspiration we have a few personal picks:
* Anthem, Tropicana – This stylish lounge, bar, and club attracts much of the city’s trendy clientele with its fairly priced VIP service.
* B Bar, Borgata – Bars don’t get any closer to the action than this, B Bar is positioned just off the casino floor and serves a wide range of wines, beers and cocktails 24 hours a day.
* Bar 46, Golden Nugget – This is the perfect place to play and drink at the same time thanks to its bar mounted video poker machines and new dedicated slots area.
* Boogie Nights, Tropicana – Unwind and enjoy a night of dancing and nostalgia at this popular venue which features celebrity look-a-likes, go-go dancers, and the very best music and video from the 70s and 80s.
* Dusk, Caesars – This huge nightspot is one of the most popular in Atlantic City and regularly hosts some of the most famous Electronic Dance Music DJs and artists from all over the world. A favourite with celebrities, Dusk is the perfect venue in which to dance the night away to the biggest tunes.
* Eden Lounge, Harrah’s – This elegant bar and lounge is the ideal setting for a more relaxed night out in the city. Musical entertainment is provided by live DJ’s and bands, but you’ll still be able to chat with your group as the volume is kept a little lower here than a typical nightclub environment.
* Haven, Golden Nugget – Despite being one of the newest nightclubs in Atlantic City, Haven is already regarded as one of the hottest venues in town. This exclusive club is a favourite with the younger crowds thanks to the top international DJs who man the decks each weekend, playing EDM, Techno and Drum and Bass.
* Premier, Borgata – A purpose-built clubbers paradise set over 18,000 square feet that regularly boasts a line-up of the biggest names in worldwide dance music. Of all Atlantic City’s nightspots, this is possibly the most impressive and a must-see for party animals visiting the city.
* Retro’s, Caesars – Conveniently located adjacent to the larger Dusk nightclub, this newly opened sub-venue specialises in music from the disco era and “decade of decadence”. The cocktail menu has a distinctly 80’s vibe, and the video DJ offers a request feature, allowing guests to boogie on down to their favourite songs.