The Bally’s Atlantic City casino will start renovating its hotel rooms on September 17, as told by a company official during a New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC) public hearing that took place recently. The total cost of the renovation will be around $100 million and, during the public hearing, Bally’s executives were obliged to answer to the blunt observations that were made by commission leaders.
The Expenditures Will Be Undergoing in the Next 3 Years
Alisa Cooper, the Vice-Chair of the NJCCC, noted that the Bally’s is more than four decades old. She stated that the building was opened in 1979 and, although she means no disrespect and she is aware of the fact that the building has undergone many renovations throughout the years, it’s still four decades old.
Since this is a massive building, Cooper’s only concern was regarding the resources. She asked the executives whether they will have the money to complete the project and if they do, will they make sure that the renovation is not completed partially. She gave an example as well – in the case of running short on capital expenditures, they need to make sure that they won’t paint or carpet just one or a few selections.
Cooper was reassured by dozens of executives that the scenario will not happen. Nick Polcino, the general manager who previously worked as a craps dealer at Bally’s when the property opened during Carter’s administration final year, was among those executives.
Polcino stated that the property was depressed and many people were not fond of visiting it just because it was dirty and old. Bally’s is expecting a solid change due to the fact that it has seen improvement every time it has invested its capital. Moreover, gambling in Atlantic City has been on the rise, as indicated by the Q1 numbers.
The total cost of the project is $100 million. That is more than the original $90 million that was submitted by Bally’s in 2020. Around 85% of the expenditures will take place over the next three years. Additionally, $35 million will go into hotel room improvements.
As for the main focus of the improvement, it starts with Bally’s Tower, but the amount that is spent will be equally scattered across the three years. By starting with Bally’s Tower, 16 new penthouse suites will be constructed. New finishings, 50-inch TV screens, porcelain tile floors, new lighting, plumbing, bed frames, and desks will also be included in many of the rooms.
Another executive added that this is a dated view. He pointed out that even though the rooms are neat and clean, they are not inviting nor modern. Bally’s also promised that the mismatched colors on the glass of the tower are something that is being fixed.
Delicious Food Will Also Be On the Menu
Arturo’s, which was the previous vacant site, is now Jerry Longo’s Meatball & Martinis; it replicates a Delaware and Rhode Island dining concept by Bally’s. Michael Monty, the assistant general manager, stated that if visitors are lucky to get a table there, they’ll see that there is a line at the door. Blackjack tables can be found at the entrance and since a DJ comes in on weekends after 9 or 10 PM, the music turns up and visitors might even struggle to find a free spot at the bar.
The local favorite, Water Dog, which is compared to an avant-garde Jewish Deli, opened its doors last month. There are also plans for an Asian bakery and restaurant, along with Guy Fieri’s Chophouse.
Bally’s also plans to renovate and boost other centers and thus, play its part in boosting Atlantic City tourism. Some of the other upgrades that are in store include an upgraded front desk area, a $1 million upgrade to the high-limit slots, and a lobby bar.
Moreover, a fitness and spa center that is likely to cost around $9 million, casino garage upgrades that come with a $4 million price tag, as well as convention, banquet and meeting upgrades of around the same cost, are part of the renovation.
Before the end of 2021, Bally’s intends to integrate a rewards card due to the fact that it has expanded in several states in the past two years and has plenty of casino properties.
One commissioner asked about a historic sport in Atlantic City, which indicated the level of details that the commission seeks. The sport is boxing and Polcino stated that the company is still not sure whether it will bring it back, but he did say that it is looking into the matter. According to Polcino, it could be a part of the company’s marketing strategy and even though it is being discussed, it has to make sense.
Beach volleyball is one sport that is likely coming to Bally’s and a tournament is even planned for the next summer. Bally’s CEO, George Papanier, showed its support for the idea by asking if there is a better place than the Atlantic City coast for this type of event.
Bally’s Is Expecting To Be A Strong Competitor In 2023
For Bally’s to take on the biggest players in Atlantic City, like Ocean, Hard Rock and Borgata, Polcino stated that the company is currently focusing on the incremental improvements. Bally’s is also holding back a bit in terms of marketing due to the fact that it wants the improvements to catch up as more money is put in the building.
With that being said, Polcino believes that Bally’s will be able to aggressively compete in the market at the beginning of summer 2023. Polcino added that the month of July has been profitable and the company expects solid revenue for Q3.
Papanier, the self-described South Jersey through-and-through boy because he grew up and was a high school and college graduate in the area, hopes to solve this very old problem for the city. He thinks that during the summer, Atlantic City is a great place. According to him, the only areas that need improvement are what he calls the offseason areas.
Now, he acknowledges the fact that the city is doing a good job, but it can be better. He was asked what some other activities that could take place and motivate people to visit the South Jersey shoreline are, and he reiterated that the summer is not a problem because people want to be there. The only difficulty is conveying that type of customer attitude to better the offseason. According to him, the solution lies in getting back to visitors and convention businesses.
He stated that Atlantic City has convention space of around 80,000 feet and the company feels like it’s not utilized properly for the market. Bally’s believes that the company and the neighboring hotel have enough rooms to go after a larger convention type of business and the meetings that are associated with that business.