Since the legalization of sports betting, gaming has taken off exponentially in popularity and has prompted the opening of many new sportsbooks throughout the region.
Other forms of gaming have maintained their popularity, too, such as slot machines, table games, poker rooms and horseracing. The draw of these activities is undeniable across a wide range of age groups and professional backgrounds.
But most gaming resorts offer so much more than gambling alone. Many also boast fine dining, overnight accommodations, first-class meeting and convention space, exciting nightlife, celebrity entertainment, spas, plus recreational opportunities.
Allure of Gaming
According to William H. Jackson, director of sales and marketing for Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, “Entertainment destinations like Resorts Casino Hotel, and the majority of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment properties, do have fantastic gaming that stays on the cutting edge, but it’s combined with world-class hotel, dining, shopping, nightlife and entertainment experiences outside of gaming.”
He adds that with the opening of the new DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts, “even sports betting is now easily accessible following a business meeting, adding appeal to meeting planners.”
"Casino resorts like Mohegan Sun Pocono are a great choice for groups because of the variety of activities - there is something for everyone to enjoy! Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the largest gaming destinations in the region... Guests looking for alternative activities can partake in a variety of nightlife venues, explore our diverse dining options, or indulge in the VIP treatment at Spa Sapphire," observes Charisse Huff, public relations specialist for Mohegan Sun Pocono.
"Casinos offer more than meeting space and a place to rest at night," explains Ashley O’Brikis, publicist for Tropicana Atlantic City. “With easily accessible restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, spa access and more, casinos provide meeting attendees with an opportunity to unwind and enjoy various amenities without ever leaving the property.”
Gaming destinations have proven to be very popular among corporate groups in large part because they offer attendees such easy access to fun 24-hours a day, agrees Jackson.
“Resorts Casino Hotel is energetic and keeps attendees enthusiastic and engaged with shopping, dining and entertainment,” he continues. “Younger group meeting attendees are especially attracted to the beachfront themed functions that Resorts Casino Hotel offers at Atlantic City’s only year-round restaurant on the beach, Landshark Bar and Grill, part of Resorts’ $35-million Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Entertainment Complex.”
In May of 2019, Resorts celebrated the opening of a new outdoor expansion to Landshark Bar and Grill called Fins Bar. Fins Bar provides a year-round beach bar experience complete with a 2,300-square foot boardwalk deck, a new large capacity bar complete with an additional 150 seats, additional outdoor speakers, as well as exterior string lights. On its new portable stage, Fins Bar hosts live entertainment.
Adjacent to Resorts Casino Hotel is one of the largest observation wheels in the world, which was built on neighboring Steel Pier. An expansive deck surrounds the wheel and allows for a creative option that’s available to groups who are meeting at Resorts.
“Sponsors of corporate events will be able to offer logoed items and a piped in message during the ride,” explains Jackson, “a memorable and unique opportunity for event sponsors to get their name in front of audiences."
According to Diane Spiers, VP advertising and marketing for Ocean Casino Resort, “Ocean’s top-notch amenities and offerings include 15 eateries from which to choose, such as Wahlburgers and Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Amada, three swimming pools and 13 cabanas overlooking the Atlantic, the largest Topgolf Swing Suite in America, a luxury spa, the 70,000-square foot Ovation Hall, as well as award-winning nightlife venues."
The 40,000-square foot Exhale Spa + Bathhouse at Ocean Casino Resort provides therapeutic, results oriented body and skincare services designed to promote ultimate inner and outer wellbeing, she notes.
"HQ2 Beachclub and Nightclub, named 2019 Nightclub of the Year by Atlantic City Weekly, is known for hosting some of the most sought-after celebrity DJs and nightlife performers,” observes Spiers.
“Ovation Hall has been described as the epicenter for entertainment in Atlantic City,” she adds. “The venue features symphony orchestras, comedy, various musical genres, and mixed martial arts events.”
Sports enthusiasts will love Ocean Casino Resort’s indoor Topgolf Swing Suite featuring virtual golf with target games and 18-hole courses along with other popular sports games, such as baseball, football, hockey and dodgeball. This unique entertainment venue has individual bays, offers food and beverage service, and is available to host small groups.
One of Ocean Casino Resort’s three swimming pools, the indoor to outdoor pool Eclipse, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and adapts to the climate allowing guests to go for a swim at any time of the year.
There’s no shortage of options for entertainment at Caesars’ AC properties either, asserts Zane Demarco, marketing coordinator for Caesars Entertainment.
Harrah’s Atlantic City recently completed a renovation of The Pool After Dark, home to A-list celebrity hosts and well-known performers. Under a 90-foot glass dome, The Pool After Dark is perfect for groups any time of year with seven hot tubs and 12 cabanas.
Another location with live music is Bally’s Beach Bar, offering entertainment and themed gatherings every night of the week. This can be bought out for a private event, as well. For a luxurious gathering space, 2100 Bar and Lounge at Caesars Atlantic City debuted in 2018 and offers unique signature cocktails. Meanwhile, the Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s is a great option for those seeking a fun team building activity - a place where everyone cooks together and eats together, all while learning new culinary techniques.
At Tropicana Atlantic City, O’Brikis says the property, sprawling over three city blocks, “is one of NJ’s largest hotels with over 2,400 luxury rooms and has a lengthy list of amenities groups can enjoy. Four indoor and outdoor swimming pools, 26 restaurants, 25 shops, 20 bars, entertainment and live performances, an IMAX Theatre, Escape Rooms, spa experiences and more."
She adds that groups and visitors have the opportunity to retreat and relax at the Sea Spa after a day filled with meetings. Located in the Chelsea Tower and recently renovated, the Sea Spa has eight private treatment rooms, a couple’s room, and The Solarium.
Adjacent to Bluemercury Spa at Tropicana, AtlantiCare LifeCenter Fitness is a state-of-the-art complex that offers the most modern exercise equipment, classes and programming.
"Guests looking for relaxation can bask in extraordinary ambiance at Spa Sapphire, located on the first floor of the Mohegan Sun Pocono hotel,” notes Huff.
“Spa Sapphire is 4,000-square feet of five-star luxury, providing a variety of state-of-the-art salon services... Unique amenities include Spa Sapphire’s full-service men’s salon and couple’s suite."
Nightlife and entertainment bring an assortment of options sure to please any group at the property. Bar Louie provides a casually cool neighborhood vibe where guests can enjoy signature items like oversized sandwiches and artfully crafted cocktails. Wise Cracker’s Comedy Club, located in Seasons Ballroom, features countless forms of comedic entertainment.
Breakers offers an eclectic scene with high-energy bartenders, regular happy hour specials, and weekly live entertainment. Guests who dine at Molly O’Sheas will enjoy Irish flair, authentic Irish cuisine, regular live entertainment and karaoke, and one of the best beer and whiskey menus in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last, but not least, Sunburst Bar, located in the heart of Mohegan Sun Pocono, is an elevated and elegant bar known for its top-shelf liquor selection.
"Additionally, with the return of Hot Summer Fun, guests can enjoy Party on the Patio - Northeast Pennsylvania’s top spot for live entertainment,” says Huff. Every Thursday night, live bands play here as guests dance the night away. Party on the Patio also includes drink specials and food trucks all summer long.
Casino resorts certainly provide plenty of opportunities for fun and diversions, but they also are a great place to be when it comes time to get down to business.
"We’re only a few years removed from the $25 million remodel to what is now the Resorts Conference Center, providing meeting groups with the latest in technology for their presentations and connectivity,” explains Jackson. “More than 1,000 group meeting attendees at Resorts Casino Hotel can wirelessly connect laptops and personal media devices simultaneously while sharing screens with each other and even with colleagues in remote locations. Convenient touch panel controls and built-in wireless microphones offer ease for presenters.”
The addition of the 12,000-square foot conference center has brought its total number of meeting spaces at Resorts to 24, which collectively offer over 64,000-square feet of function space. This expansion also included the installation of higher resolution capabilities in anticipation of future needs, high capacity Wi-Fi, electrical and Telecom connectivity hidden in the floors (minimizing cables), and architectural LED lighting on dimmers with programmable pre-sets. Twelve breakout rooms keep productivity high with built-in 90-inch LED monitors, along with drop-down screens and cinema quality projection.
Resorts’ All-inclusive Meeting Package (AMP), an exclusive group meeting option in Atlantic City, is available Sunday through Thursday. Price varies by season and the package includes upgraded guest rooms, continuous coffee breaks, Wi-Fi in meeting rooms and guestrooms, audio-visual, parking, all taxes, gratuities, resort fees and meeting room rental, as well as three meals per day.
Groups taking advantage of the AMP have a wide variety of award-winning restaurants and venues from which to choose for their meal functions, too, including the Wine Spectator award winning Capriccio Italian restaurant, Gallagher’s Steakhouse, and the newly expanded East-Wind Chinese Restaurant and Noodle Bar.
"We find that the more features and amenities that our resort has and continues to build upon, the more interest we will keep receiving from group planners of various types,” explains Jackson. “We’re home to ample meetings and convention space with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearly 1,000 hotel rooms. Resorts also is not a very long drive from both Philadelphia and New York City, making us a prime coastal option for two of the most active business cities in the country.”
Ocean Casino Resort is one of the resort town’s two newest casino hotel properties (along with Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City), both of which officially opened in June of 2018.
The property boasts 160,000-square feet of flexible, designated meeting and convention space, 90,000-square feet of unique outdoor spaces set against a panoramic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, and 1,399 guest rooms boasting floor-to-ceiling views.
Ovation Hall and Conference Center offers meeting groups a 70,000-square foot Event Center that can accommodate up to 5,000 in addition to 20 meeting rooms all on one dedicated level. Ocean’s function space is equipped with the latest in audio-visual technology and includes expansive open areas that overlook the Atlantic for pre- and post-function events.
When it’s time for group functions at Tropicana, O’Brikis says the property is home to over 122,000-square feet of function space. Guests can expect to experience a world-class meeting environment, an award-winning meeting and convention staff, and dedicated customer ser vice.
The Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center boasts 100,000-square feet of meeting space while offering planners the ability to sleep, eat and meet all in one location with more than 2,590 hotel rooms available on-site.
Another top reason so many groups choose casino resort properties for their meetings, events, conventions and more is the food. So much variety and so many dining choices. From boardwalk fare to buffets to celebrity inspired restaurants and more.
“Ocean offers a variety of gourmet and casual restaurants ideal for every type of group with private rooms that can accommodate up to 60 people, or by utilizing the general seating in any of our restaurants,” says Spiers. “The options are endless, from American Cut Steakhouse, Dolce D’ Mare Italian, Jose Garces Amada featuring Spanish Tapas, Villain & Saint, or Zhen Bang Noodle. Ocean Casino Resor t has something for all budgets and tastes."
“Celebrity chefs add a component of innovation and excitement to a guest’s dining experiences,” obser ves Demarco. “Each chef brings different culinary training, cultural perspective, and ingredient knowledge to their restaurant, which offers variety and enriches the experience for hotel guests.”
Caesars Entertainment boasts three casino resorts in Atlantic City (Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s). Within them, Demarco cites some celebrity chef offerings that are sure to please. "Atlantic City provides top-tier dining options with various cuisines curated by celebrity chefs. In 2018, Gordon Ramsay, Michelin-star chef and TV personality, opened Gordon Ramsay Steak, a steakhouse experience with a British influence at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. Gordon Ramsay’s award-winning cuisine also can be experienced at Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesars Atlantic City, a great option for hearty British fare with authentic English-inspired décor in an upbeat atmosphere.”
“At Bally’s Atlantic City, Guy Fieri’s Chophouse is an ode to steak with a New Jersey influence and a view of the famous Atlantic City boardwalk,” he continues. “The Crafty Crab at Bally’s Atlantic City offers a laidback experience with fresh crab and craft beverages from which to choose."
As Steve Van Der Molen, vice president, meeting operations AC Region for Caesars Entertainment explains, “We place great importance in the quality of food and beverage for corporate events. Meals are a big part of a group experience, and we take the utmost pride in ensuring our customers receive a restaurant-quality experience with locally sourced ingredients and flavors whenever possible.”
Caesars executive banquet chef in Atlantic City, Alfredo Varela, has years of experience in food and beverage in the meeting and events industry. He focuses on food trends and is happy to sit down with a planner to develop menus just for them and provide a tasting so that the experience is very personalized.
With 11 unique dining venues at Mohegan Sun Pocono, most available for private functions, groups can create customized events. The property offers several options, including: Rustic Kitchen Bistro and Bar; Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Molly O'Sheas; Pearl Sushi Bar; Timbers Buffet; and Bar Louie.
“In our state-of-the-art conference center, home to 20,000-square feet of flexible space, you can create a mouthwatering menu accompanied by world-class service, as well,” adds Huff.
Casino resorts provide so many options and opportunities, all within a single venue, so whether a planner is looking for activities, meeting space, great dining - or all three - they will find everything they need and want in one place.