Casino File: Rendering unto Caesars – Will cash infusion alter AC's balance of power? More upgrades for Ocean
An artist's rendering of a new Ocean Tower Emperor Suite Living Room at Caesars Atlantic City.Caesars

Casino File: Rendering unto Caesars – Will cash infusion alter AC's balance of power? More upgrades for Ocean

The infusion of capital-improvement funds could result in a reset of the competition for gamblers.

The big news this week was Wednesday’s announcement by Caesars Entertainment that it is pouring a whopping $400 million into its three Atlantic City properties, Tropicana Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City. The dough is to be spent on improvement projects between now and 2023.

The first phase of the plan is underway at Caesars and Harrah’s which are scheduled to unveil $170 million worth of upgrades this summer. They include the spiffing up of guest rooms and suites in Caesars’ Centurion and Ocean towers and Harrah's Atrium Tower. According to a press release, the Caesars blueprint features “a modern Roman aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the local Atlantic City scenery, including the beach, ocean and famed Boardwalk. The guest rooms and suites will feature rich hues of blue and cream accent colors, contrasting white and gray tones, and contemporary furniture, including modern bathrooms with oversized showers, mirrors, and signature amenities.”

The work at Caesars bears watching; It could be a particularly significant development as it gives the 42-year-old Midtown gaming hall its best chance in a long time to regain its one-time position as one of AyCee’s marquee properties.

Back in the day (the late-‘70s into the new millennium), Caesars was a high-roller magnet thanks, in part, to the exalted status of the Caesars brand in the gambling realm. It was also a buyer of premium talent, with “gets” including megastar magician David Copperfield, Jerry Seinfeld at the height of his TV stardom and the world premiere of Barry Manilow presents Copacabana, the original book musical inspired by his 1978 smash hit of the same name.

But Caesars’ top-shelf status took a turn for the worse. Part of the reason was the 2003 debut of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which quickly came to dominate the premium-player market, not to mention the headliner-entertainment market and the local market in general. Then there was the floor-to-ceiling ancient-Rome motif, which, like other casino design-and-branding themes, fell out of favor when sleek-and-modern became the prevailing industry philosophy.

And let’s not overlook the seeming indifference to the property on the part of its former owner, which led to visible physical decay.

But now, Caesars has a chance to get back in the game, and re-establish itself as a major player in Atlantic City. Other details of how the casino-hotel will spend its money have not yet been revealed, but a major emphasis on dining and entertainment are expected, which, in turn, could go a long way toward reinvigorating the adult playpen.

Wave of upgrades continues at Ocean

On the heels of its recent introductions of The Cove, a high-limit slots parlor, and The Loft, a private, ultra-high-end table-games salon, Ocean Casino Resort has announced it’s putting another $15 million into the gambling den on the Boardwalk’s far eastern end.

Some of the money is earmarked for employee raises and projects in the surrounding neighborhood. But capital improvements are also on the docket. They will include an all-new high-limit table games venue; a space dedicated to Asian gaming; 250 additional slot machines and two new lounges for Ocean Rewards card members.

Also on the drawing board are new pathways throughout the casino that will allow guests easier navigation, and as-yet-detailed plans for such non-gaming attractions as the pools, beach area, restaurants and entertainment options.

Specific plans are expected to be released over the coming weeks and months.

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