AC expanding gambling, drinking options in casinos
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - January 3, 2012 (WPVI) -- Here's the one sure thing about Atlantic City in 2012: There's going to be more gambling and drinking.
New Jersey casino regulators are letting casinos put slot machines and table games into places they've never been before. They're also letting casinos sell or give away alcohol in gift shops, a clothing store, and a wireless Internet lounge.
The gambling extension trend started last year with the Tropicana Casino and Resort and Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. It's speeding up this year with the Golden Nugget Atlantic City offering bar-top video poker, as well as traditional blackjack and roulette in a new lounge.
And Harrah's is considering putting even more table games into areas near The Pool, which doubles as one of the city's hottest nightclubs once the towels and swim caps are packed away.
"It's combining casino gambling and the nightclub atmosphere," said Don Marrandino, eastern division president of Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah's and three other casinos in Atlantic City. "It's a fun atmosphere. We're really pleased with how it's working out."
Marrandino said the casino may add even more table games to The Pool.
"We're sticking our toe in the water, and seeing how it works out," he said.
The Golden Nugget is in the home stretch of a $150 million makeover its new owners, Texas-based Landry's Restaurants Inc. started shortly after buying the former Trump Marina Hotel Casino last May.
The latest offering is the Rush Lounge, located off the casino floor. It's designed as a spot for customers to have a drink, watch sports on big-screen TVs, or gamble away from the main gambling areas.
And in a ruling made public on Tuesday, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement allowed Harrah's to add more gambling to The Pool. Harrah's will add six blackjack tables, a chip redemption booth, and two cages for dancers near a railing.
Last fall, the Tropicana put eight slot machines and two electronic table games machines into The Quarter, its shopping, dining and entertainment district across the street from the main casino, with the idea that they will be used by people waiting for dinner or movie reservations in the popular tourist attraction.
The casino eventually hopes to put 100 to 125 slot machines and live-staffed table games into The Quarter if all goes well during the trial period.
Liquor will flow in new places as well this year. The state will allow the Golden Nugget to serve free 2-ounce glasses of wine at Cool Jeans, a clothing store on its casino level, and slightly larger glasses of wine (from 3 to 6 ounces, to be sold or given away) at Wine & WiFi, a wireless Internet lounge.
Sales of package goods, including beer and wine for off-premises consumption, will be allowed in gift shops at Bally's Atlantic City, Harrah's, Caesars Atlantic City, The Golden Nugget, and the Showboat Casino Hotel.
new jersey, atlantic city, casinos, gambling, alcohol, local/state
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