The Casino File: Betting on the future, Atlantic City sets return of headliners as early as fall; new Pennsylvania mini-casino in the cards
Last week in this space, we hypothesized that some Atlantic City casinos could conceivably book invitation-only headliner gigs for their top players despite the New Jersey state mandate that public performances be limited to a maximum 150 people regardless of venue size.
But that doesn’t mean the current prohibition of public shows is permanent, or even open-ended: A perusal of various sources indicates that AyCee gaming halls are anticipating the return of full-blown entertainment operations in the not-too-distant-future.
Not surprisingly, the town’s preeminent buyer of top-shelf talent, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, has a full slate of bookings beginning less than two months from now. As is the case citywide, most are dates that have been rescheduled from earlier this year. Among the shows for which tickets are on sale from now through 2021 (new date/old date) are:
Wu Tang Clan (Nov. 6/postponed from May 9); Air Supply (Feb. 6/Oct. 16); Sebastian Maniscalco (Feb. 26-March 20/various dates last June); John Legend (Aug. 21/Aug. 22) and Big B mainstay Jerry Seinfeld (July 30/Aug. 8).
At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, they’re expecting, among others, country titan Dierks Bentley (July 23/Aug. 6); classic-rock god Rod Stewart (Aug. 6/Aug. 8) and American Idol-propelled rockers Daughtry (April 10/Aug. 28).
Ocean Casino Resort is ready to present pop-opera biggie Sarah Brightman (Oct. 24); pop-rock legends The Beach Boys (April 2); standup stalwart Jay Leno (May 7) and the two top ventriloquists working today, Terry Fator (June 19) and Jeff Dunham (Aug. 21).
Elsewhere, the talent rosters include an evening of stories from revered character actor William Shatner (Caesars Atlantic City), (Oct. 16/April 24); actress-singer Vanessa Williams (Tropicana Atlantic City); (Aug. 21/Feb. 14); comedian Gary Owen (Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City); (Feb. 6/May 8) and The Guess Who (June 26/Sept. 26).
Of course, it probably needn’t be said that none of the above bookings are guaranteed as all dates will be determined by the status of the pandemic and the state rules in place at the time of the scheduled event.
A ‘Mini-casino’ is coming to Happy Valley.
The former owner of Valley Forge Casino Resort is back in the gambling racket. Ira Lubert, who opened the suburban Philly property in 2012 and sold it in 2018 to Boyd Gaming for $280 million, is using some of that scratch to bring casino gaming to the Penn State University area.
Lubert has been awarded a Category 4—or “mini-casino”--license. That will allow him to create a gambling hall offering between 300 and 750 slot machines and up to 30 table games. Such operations are permitted to add 10 table games after 12 months.
Lubert has not yet decided on where he’ll locate his casino, but it will be within a 30-mile circle whose center is Unionville Borough which is about 12 miles north of State College.
The Casino File will appear Fridays and when news breaks. Chuck Darrow is Bettors Insider’s Casino Lifestyle Editor.