Casinos: Dining, Shopping & Nightlife
Booking a group outing or special event at a casino just keeps getting better!
Fine dining at restaurants that bear the names of celebrity chefs. Boutique shopping experiences and some of the trendiest names in retail. Nightclubs with the hottest DJs frequented by top celebrities. World-class entertainers and musicians putting on fantastic performances and shows. All while spas rejuvenate and swimming pools refresh.
Casino properties aren’t just offering the “best of both worlds,” they are presenting planners with the best of just about everything. Each with its own personality and theme to supercharge attendees.
The excitement of the casino floor is just steps away. Meeting space is easily accessible, too, while on-site event coordinators and fantastic F&B options help to round out a full and complete experience for practically any group.
Even group size isn’t an issue with huge venues available for conclaves of thousands of attendees. The Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, NJ, the recently renovated Valley Forge Casino Resort Event Center in King of Prussia, PA, along with the newly opened Earth Expo and Convention Center at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT are all well suited to accommodate even the largest events.
But small or large, practically any group could benefit from the one-stop-shop experience that casino properties are able to offer when it comes to entertaining meetings and events. Of course, food is a key component, and choices abound at casinos with something for just about every taste.
Jessica Kasunich, communications manager for Meet AC, notes that the casino hotel and resort properties in Atlantic City offer a delightfully tasty mix of gourmet restaurants with an amazing array of internationally acclaimed chefs. “Atlantic City offers many choices that are sure to please any picky palate and price conscious visitors. Most restaurants offer private group dining options with specialized menus.”
For those visitors who want to be entertained, the nightlife options in Atlantic City are virtually limitless, Kasunich explains. “From country and rock to rodeos, boxing and midget car racing, all performed under the bright lights at Atlantic City’s casino properties or in Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. When the sun goes down, the action is just heating up at the many nightclubs, such as: Premier at Borgata; Boogie Nights at the Tropicana; Haven at the Golden Nugget; The Pool at Harrah’s; DAER at Hard Rock Casino; and HG2 at Ocean Resort Casino. The variety of nightclubs allows patrons the opportunity to dance and party the night away until the wee hours of the morning.”
A tantalizing option for group outings, she notes that most of the city’s nightclubs are available for buyouts and hosting private events.
Prefer to shop the night away instead? Located in downtown Atlantic City and just steps from the Atlantic City Convention Center, Tanger Outlets The Walk is made up of more than 100 stores offering incredible deals and steals. Kasunich continues, “In addition to Bass Pro Shops and casino boutiques, each casino has their own spa with unique experiences and services.”
The casino that originally brought gaming to Atlantic City back in 1978, Resorts Casino Hotel, a Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment property, continues to be at the top of its game. Offering world-class casino action in a relaxed environment that keeps the focus on fun, Resorts Casino Hotel has undergone $100 million in renovations in recent years, including a state-of-the-art conference center, a $25 million room renovation project, and the addition of the $35 million Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville-themed entertainment complex with the only beach bar in town, Landshark Bar and Grill.
Resorts features 942 guest rooms and suites, casino gaming, two theaters, 10 restaurants, a food court, two VIP slot and table player lounges, a casino bar, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, health club and spa, salon, and retail shops. Its 64,000-square feet of technologically advanced meeting space includes 24 meeting and function rooms, most of which feature natural light and ocean views, as well as a 13,000-square foot ballroom.
Among its top restaurant choices are: the award-winning Capriccio for classic Italian dining; Eastwind (authentic Asian cuisine); Gallagher’s Steak House; the new DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts; Mukashi Sushi Bar; and, of course, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
Charisse Huff, public relations specialist for Mohegan Sun, discusses some of the other offerings of Resorts Atlantic City, as well as its sister properties in the region, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
“The casino industry has evolved to offer an integrated resort concept with a variety of entertainment options,” explains Huff. “For example, Mohegan Sun, the flagship of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment located in Uncasville, CT, has two live music venues, a cabaret theater, a comedy club, and a wide variety of shopping and dining options. This allows for a strong ROE, or ‘Return on Experience;’ while all these options being under one roof allows for networking and relationship building opportunities to increase significantly.”
Huff adds that these opportunities are only steps away from one another, as are ample hotel accommodations. “In all,” she continues, “Mohegan Sun, Resorts Casino Hotel and Mohegan Sun Pocono are exceptional integrated casinos and resorts that all offer ideal experiences for meetings, conferences and events of all sizes and scope.”
At Mohegan Sun’s flagship property there are more than 45 dining options. Within these options, numerous establishments can cater to group dining. Just a few choices include: BALLO Italian Restaurant; Michael Jordan’s Steak House; SolToro; Tom’s Urban; and Todd English’s Tuscany. There also are 13 private/semi-private dining rooms on property.
Mohegan Sun Golf Club features private group and party options, too, including one location that overlooks its 18-hole championship golf course in Baltic, CT.
At Mohegan Sun Pocono, various restaurants are open for group dining, such as Molly O’Sheas, Rustic Kitchen, Timbers Buffet, Bar Louie, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
When it comes to recreation and nightlife, Mohegan Sun boasts near endless experiences. The upper levels of the property, upon approach of the Sky Tower and Casino of the Sky, feature the likes of Lansdowne Irish Pub and Music House as well as Avalon Nightclub. Another option is VISTA Lounge at Wombi Rock.
In the near future, Comix Mohegan Sun will undergo a “Country Makeover” and become Comix Roadhouse, hosting live comedic entertainment and live country music while serving Texas-style food and over 30 craft beers on tap.
At Mohegan Sun Pocono, in addition to continuous live entertainment across the property, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono offers the thrill of live harness racing - March through November.
Sports fans at Resorts Casino Hotel can take sports betting to the next level with DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts. The new space includes 5,000-square feet of action, 12 betting kiosks, five betting windows, ultra-high-definition LED video walls, stadium-style seats with chargers and a VIP seating area complete with food and bottle service.
“Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment prides itself on exceptional sports and entertainment programming,” explains Huff. “Mohegan Sun is home to several venues, most notably the nationally recognized, 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, which plays host to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Luke Bryan.”
Additional venues include the popular Wolf Den, featuring free concerts throughout the week, Comix Mohegan Sun (soon to be Comix Roadhouse), and Cabaret Theatre, a 400-seat venue available for hosting special events.
The 38,000-square foot Uncas Ballroom and the brand new, 20,000-square foot Earth Ballroom also are routinely set up for hosting special live performances and events, such as Boston Brews and Bites (which kicked-off the 2019 Sun Wine and Food Fest), where athletes like Paul Pierce and Pedro Martinez teamed up with Massachusetts-based chefs to cook, eat and enjoy drinks with fans.
At Mohegan Sun Pocono, the Keystone Grand Ballroom boasts more than 16,000-square feet of space and hosts top name performers. Other entertainment options include: Wise Crackers comedy club, plus Breakers and Bar Louie, both of which feature local bands regularly. Guests also can experience a relaxed piano night at Bean and Vine or enjoy an acoustic set at Molly O’Sheas.
A short distance from Mohegan Sun Pocono is Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, an 8,300-seat venue featuring the biggest names in entertainment. It also is home to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, an AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Meanwhile, Resorts Casino Hotel is one of the top stops for entertainment in Atlantic City with its Superstar Theater.
The Shops at Mohegan Sun is home to over 30 premium retail outlets, providing a wide selection of fine apparel, antiques, jewelry, handcrafted Native American goods and more. The Shops Concourse also includes a wide variety of dining options. Guests can enjoy Mandara Spa, as well, located both in the Earth and Sky Towers.
At Mohegan Sun Pocono, guests can get pampered in luxury at Spa Sapphire, which is a five-star spa and salon.
Resorts, meanwhile, features the Atlantic City Spa, Health Club and Fitness Center.
When it’s time to meet, Mohegan Sun is home to over 275,000-square feet of function space. Its newest addition, the Earth Expo and Convention Center, features over 175,000-square feet of exhibition space, including the 20,000-square foot Earth Ballroom, the 125,000-square foot Earth Expo Center, 15 meeting rooms, outdoor space (including a large wrap-around terrace), and state-of-the-art technology. The Sky Convention Center has over 100,000-square feet of meeting space, including one of the largest hotel ballrooms in the Northeast, the Uncas Ballroom. Next to the Uncas Ballroom are 20 unique and flexible meeting rooms.
Mohegan Sun Pocono is home to a 20,000-square foot conference center offering flexible meeting space.
In all, Resorts Casino Hotel offers 24 meeting rooms, 14 with natural lighting and ocean views, and over 64,000-square feet of flexible function and event space, including its newest conference center space.
In Hanover, Maryland, Live! Casino & Hotel offers a multitude of luxurious amenities in one place with ease of accessibility between Baltimore and Washington, DC, while just a short drive from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Cynthia Jones, VP of sales and marketing for Live! Casino, explains that hosting an event at a casino property offers planners a one-stop solution for full-service meeting coordination along with numerous on-site options that allow attendees to unwind afterward. In addition, dining, entertainment and nightlife all are available and convenient without needing to coordinate with additional vendors.
“Groups can have their pick of irresistible dining options at Live! Casino & Hotel’s award-winning restaurants, from the Zagat-rated #1 steakhouse in the Baltimore area, The Prime Rib, to Live! Hotel’s signature restaurant, David’s, named after and inspired by the travels of casino owner and The Cordish Companies Chairman, David Cordish,” says Jones.
“Live! also offers a complete selection of banquet and catering services featuring customizable options from all restaurants throughout the casino and hotel,” she continues.
As one of the East Coast’s largest and top-performing casinos - known for its “anything can happen environment” - even casual slot players can take part in the excitement and suspense of Live!’s one-of-a-kind mystery slot progressive jackpots that are guaranteed to hit between several thousand dollars up to $100,000. Cigar enthusiasts can enjoy the Orchid Gaming and Smoking Patio, the first and only outdoor gaming area that features both table games and slots in the state.
The property also features a diverse and exclusive art collection, The Cordish Collection, with pieces from world-renowned artists - including Andy Warhol - throughout the hotel.
In addition, Live! Casino & Hotel offers a spirited nightlife scene, starting with its state-of-the-art, 4,000-seat Event Center that is opening in two phases. According to Jones, “The entertainment venue hosts A-list musical and comedy headliners, as well as championship boxing. Guests also can experience a near nightly lineup of entertainment at Live! Center Stage, which includes salsa dancing and karaoke. Live music is available nightly, too, at The Lounge at The Prime Rib and The Lobby Bar at David’s.”
The casino is only steps away from some of the best shopping in the region at Arundel Mills Mall, the biggest outlet mall in the state of Maryland. Guests can unwind at the luxury Live! Spa, which offers a full menu of spa and salon services, as well. Live! Spa also offers a more intimate experience at their Spa Suites and Spa Villa where guests can get pampered in private without ever leaving their room.
For meetings and events, The Event Center currently offers 20,000-square feet of meeting and banquet space along with a ballroom that is flexible to accommodate breakout space. The venue’s built-in performance stage has a state-of-the art AV system with audio-visual professionals on-site.
“Our packages are customizable for conventions, corporate retreats and private events of all sizes,” asserts Jones. “A Phase II expansion will double the size of the event and meeting space. Our sister property, Live! Lofts, is another option for meetings and is just minutes from the casino and hotel. Both properties have nearly 25,000-square feet of combined meeting and event space along with more than 550 guest rooms.”
The second phase of Live!’s Event Center will be finalized later this year and double the size of its event and meeting space to 4,000-seats for live entertainment and 40,000-square feet of customizable meeting space.
Amelia R Tognoli, advertising and brand marketing coordinator for Sands Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA, says that clients who choose Sands enjoy their on-site experience, in part, because they never feel confined to a meeting room. “Guests can relax before or after their event at the award-winning, AAA Four-Diamond rated Sands Hotel, shop designer stores at The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem, visit our spa, or dine at one of nine on-site restaurants.”
Three of Sands’ most popular celebrity chef restaurants, Emeril’s Chop House, Emeril’s Fish House and Buddy V’s Ristorante, cater to larger parties with group prix fixe menus.
On the casino floor, guests of Sands Bethlehem can grab a drink at one of two bars or enjoy complimentary entertainment at Molten Lounge. Additionally, The Sands Bethlehem Event Center features eclectic performances that include big names like Rod Stewart and Mariah Carey. Shop designer stores at The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem, or get pampered at Steel Magnolia Spa and Salon. Of course, Sands offers world-class gaming, too.
Tognoli adds, “We offer free, live entertainment seven nights a week. When you choose our resort, you choose an experience beyond your meeting’s agenda.”
For conferences and events, Sands Bethlehem has over 12,000-square feet of meeting space along with an additional 3,000-square feet of pre-function space. “For planners with larger parties, we offer 14,000-square feet of trade show and event space,” explains Tognoli. “Complimentary amenities and add-ons include high-speed Wi-Fi, green meetings programs, team building opportunities, entertainment and an in-house audio-visual team.”
In addition, Sands on-site meeting planners work with the event organizer throughout the entire process. “You’re in good hands,” Tognoli declares.
Working with the expert planning teams at casino properties such as these to craft an outing for the group that includes fine dining, recreation, nightlife and more is the perfect way to maximize an experience all that these venues have to offer.
Update: Tropicana Atlantic City
Tropicana Atlantic City recently held three ceremonial ribbon cuttings to debut its renovated, award-winning restaurants Golden Dynasty and Il Verdi, along with the all-new TROP ADVANTAGE® VIP Lounge. As Tropicana’s traditional Mandarin restaurant, Golden Dynasty has been redesigned to use the principles of Feng Shui with over 75 seats and four private dining rooms. The gourmet Italian restaurant Il Verdi has been updated to showcase an extensive wine selection with more than 450 wine bottles on display from around the world. Finally, the new 5,600-square foot TROPADVANTAGE® VIP Lounge offers guests a freshly designed and expanded buffet that boasts more than 40-feet of food offerings and a 15-seat bar showcasing an extensive selection of more than 500 bottles of spirits, wine and beer.
Update: Hard Rock Casino, Atlantic City
With over 150,000-square feet of meeting and event space, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City boasts a variety of venues designed to accommodate groups of all sizes. For the largest gatherings, Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena can stage a general session of 7,000 people or a trade show with more than 300 booths. All of Hard Rock’s meeting and event spaces are easily accessible from its 2,000 overnight rooms, and offer Wi-Fi access, expert audio-visual and technological integration, along with world-class food and beverage.
Update: Valley Forge Casino Resort
As the only full-amenity gaming resort in the Greater Philadelphia area, Valley Forge Casino Resort features the excitement of gaming, 100,000-square feet of meeting, conference and banquet facilities, plus two luxury hotel towers. The Radisson Tower has 325 recently remodeled rooms while the Casino Tower offers over 150 completely renovated rooms. Six dining options, live entertainment and an exciting nightlife scene combine for a unique hospitality experience.
What's more, after having invested over $40 million over the past year, Valley Forge Casino Resort, a property of Boyd Gaming, announced even more enhancements, including renovations in January to the Valley Forge Casino Resort Event Center, which features programmable HD video displays, energy efficient and customizable LED lighting, integrated audio system, and more. The event center boasts more than 54,000-square feet of divisible exhibition space.
Update: Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa recently announced construction of a new venue that will integrate an entertaining bar experience with sports wagering. Adding more than $11 million in development to Borgata’s resort, the destination bar will make its anticipated debut this
coming summer. Borgata made history last June when it became the first Atlantic City casino to accept a legal sports wager under new sports betting regulations in New Jersey.
Located in Atlantic City’s Marina District, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features 2,000 guest rooms and suites; 106,000-square feet of event space; gaming; a race and sports book; 11 retail boutiques; acclaimed fine dining restaurants by renowned chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Michael Schulson; casual dining options; spa and swimming pools; four signature nightlife experiences; and parking for 7,100 cars.
The Water Club at Borgata offers a unique personality all its own, while just steps away from the entertainment, nightlife, and dining of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Guests can enjoy Immersion, a two-story spa on the 32nd floor, 18,000-square feet of meeting and event space, five heated swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor), along with boutique retail shops and more.
Update: Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort Casino sits on the boardwalk and is the tallest building in Atlantic City, offering ocean views from each of its 1,399 guest rooms and suites. Situated on 20-acres, Ocean Resort Casino is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt Portfolio and features an on-site Exhale spa, gaming, a state-of-the-art sports book in partnership with William Hill, six swimming pools, expansive meeting and convention space, as well as distinctive dining and entertainment options.
In 2019, Ocean Resort Casino’s strategic plan anticipates continued investments to further enhance the exceptional guest and player experience. Specifically, the 2019 budget includes capital investment in a world-class buffet, additional suite and room product, incremental investments on the casino floor and other exciting projects. In addition, Ocean Resort Casino plans for a substantial increase in its entertainment programming and player events throughout the year.
Update: Caesars Entertainment
Caesars Entertainment, the world's most diversified casino-entertainment provider, recently announced plans to open Caesars Republic Scottsdale in Arizona, its first non-gaming hotel in the United States. Caesars Republic Scottsdale will be located adjacent to the region's premier luxury retail destination, Scottsdale Fashion Square, and will be a four-star hotel developed by HCW Development and operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. Caesars Entertainment will license its brand, advise on design elements and integrate its loyalty network, Total Rewards.
Caesars Republic is a brand that pays homage to the dynamic energy of Las Vegas - celebrating rebellious spirits and beckoning its guests to unleash their alter egos. No two hotels within the brand will be exactly alike.
Caesars also announced in late January the setting of the first steel truss for CAESARS FORUM, a $375 million, 550,000-square foot conference center in Las Vegas with the two largest column-free ballrooms in the world that will open in 2020. The over 300-foot-wide and 200-plus-ton steel truss marks the first of over a mile of trusses that will be used in the construction of CAESERS FORUM.
Within walking distance to more than 20,000 Caesars Entertainment hotel rooms, connected to 5,000 Caesars Entertainment hotel rooms, and adjacent to the LINQ Promenade retail district, this state-of-the-art and LEED silver-rated facility will provide a unique option for meetings and events. It will also feature FORUM Plaza, the first 100,000-square foot dedicated outdoor meeting and event space in Las Vegas.
In addition, Caesars Entertainment has announced the creation of The Shared Future Fund, a new and innovative investment model that will be used to create long-term positive change for adult and child victims of human trafficking. The fund will be controlled and managed by ImpactNV, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Southern Nevada dedicated to mobilizing cross-sector leadership to address pressing social needs and building a better community.
"The formation of The Shared Future Fund underscores Caesars Entertainment's belief that every human being deserves an equal opportunity for a bright future and fulfilling life. In our inaugural year, The Shared Future Fund will prioritize solutions centered on human trafficking, which is an issue that particularly affects women and children," said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility at Caesars Entertainment.
The Shared Future Fund aims to define a new pathway to achieve philanthropic goals by supporting a holistic, community-centered strategy that emphasizes advocacy and collective impact. The initial emphasis of the fund will be to provide support for women and children affected by trauma associated with human trafficking.
Finally, to celebrate Caesars Entertainment Corporation as the first founding partner of the Las Vegas Stadium, Raiders© owner, Mark Davis, and president, Marc Badain, presented Caesars president and CEO Mark Frissora and CMO Chris Holdren with commemorative jerseys.
The historic partnership also marks the first Raiders deal with a gaming and hospitality company, providing select Caesars Entertainment customers and Caesars Rewards members with access to exclusive experiences like the customized Caesars-branded Owners Suite at the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas stadium, VIP Dinners on the field, training facility events, fantasy camp participation, stadium tours, along with tickets to Raiders’ home games and most stadium events.
As a Founding Partner of Las Vegas Stadium, Caesars Entertainment will host a branded stadium entrance and drop off zone, digital signage, media, radio and print assets in addition to alumni, player and cheerleader appearances. The 65,000-seat stadium will open in time for the 2020 NFL© season.
Critical Thinking Workshops at Resorts Casino Hotel
In conjunction with Rutgers University Office of Continuing Professional Education, Edward Batten, VP of Resorts Casino Hotel’s Food and Beverage Operations has launched a series of critical thinking workshops to enhance job training at the casino resort. Not limited to associates who prepare and serve food and drinks for guests, the Critical Thinking Workshop is offered to managers, supervisors and employees of other departments in the hotel, the Resorts Conference Center, and the casino.
“Working in this industry, it is important to teach people to expect curve balls in the course of their daily work. We are training and empowering staff to recognize the cognitive biases that keep them from clear thinking,” says Batten, who worked with Rutgers to tailor the program specifically to the hospitality industry and recently certified a group of 25 graduates.
“These individuals already know how to do their work day in and day out. This is more of an abstract concept. Certified instructors put them through a program of how to systematically approach a challenge or something to overcome. It is interactive. They break into groups and together they apply the things they learn in the workshop to attack a problem,” says Batten.
For example, he describes the process of adding a new venue for corporate groups. Resorts Casino Hotel opened the DraftKings Sportsbook, the newest concept in Atlantic City. The room can be reserved for private parties and offers groups a unique environment to enjoy and in which to network. “The best example was hosting our first group in the Sportsbook venue. How will we operate and serve the guests smoothly in this new state-of-the-art room? My team figured it out, the event went well, and the group loved being surrounded by dozens of live sporting events. They said it was a nice alternative to a ballroom setting.”
Batten emphasizes that casino hotels are a highly regulated entity and Resorts provides constant internal and external training, like TIPS about the proper service and handling of alcohol. On the food side, Resorts Casino Hotel volunteers to do SERVSAFE training for food handling and sanitation, an optional program offered by the National Restaurant Association.