The Evolution of Hotel & Casino Gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Old roulette table and wheel with casino chips.
BetMGM Sep 25, 2023, 11:23 PM

Atlantic City, New Jersey, has long been a hub of entertainment and excitement thanks to its vibrant history of hotels and casinos in the area. From its early beginnings as a seaside retreat to its transformation into a bustling tourist destination, Atlantic City has evolved into a renowned gambling and entertainment mecca, including a popular online casino gaming boom. Online gambling in Atlantic City has built a thriving new community, giving players the opportunity to explore new ways to connect with others.

Atlantic City History

Atlantic City emerged as a popular beach resort, attracting visitors eager to escape the urban chaos of nearby cities like Philadelphia and New York City. In addition to the beaches and old Atlantic City hotels, its famous boardwalk and amusement park added to the attraction. The city quickly became a popular vacation spot for people from all over the country. Over the years, the city has undergone many changes, but it has managed to hold on to its unique identity.

Many historic establishments have called it home and played a crucial role in shaping Atlantic City’s history, contributing to its cultural significance and putting it on the map. Although gambling in Atlantic City is a major drawcard today, the city is still well-known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant entertainment for people of all ages.

Oldest Atlantic City Hotels

The Chelsea Hotel, built in 1900, and The Claridge Hotel, built in 1929, are among the oldest Atlantic City hotels that still exist. Although they’ve witnessed transformations over the years, they continue to attract visitors from around the world with their charm and elegance.

The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel is one of the oldest Atlantic City hotels. It was built in 1900 and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, but it still retains its old-world charm. The hotel has a unique contribution to Atlantic City history, having been used as a military hospital during World War II and later as a convent and a retirement home. In the 2000s, the hotel underwent a massive renovation to become a luxury hotel and spa. Today, The Chelsea Hotel is known for its stunning ocean views and upscale amenities, making it a popular destination for visitors to Atlantic City.

The Claridge Hotel

The Claridge Hotel is one of the most iconic old Atlantic City hotels, located at the corner of South Indiana Avenue and the Boardwalk. It opened its doors in 1929 and was one of the first skyscraper hotels in the country. The Claridge Hotel was also known for having the largest and most famous ballroom in Atlantic City history, where many legendary performers graced the stage. The Claridge Hotel has been a symbol of elegance and sophistication since its opening.

Prohibition’s Impact on Gambling in Atlantic City’s Hotels and Casinos

During the Prohibition era in the 1920s, Atlantic City’s entertainment scene saw a significant shift. Despite the nationwide ban on alcohol and gambling, the Atlantic City entertainment hub thrived, giving birth to the iconic Boardwalk, offering a lively promenade lined with shops, restaurants, and theaters. Many hotels offering gambling in Atlantic City adapted to the changing times by opening speakeasies and offering backroom casinos, drawing locals and visitors alike.

When Did Atlantic City Casinos Open?

In 1976, Atlantic City’s casinos first opened, a turning point that forever altered the city’s landscape. New Jersey legalized casino gambling, becoming the second state in the United States to do so. Legal gambling in Atlantic City led to a boom in the city’s economy with a rapid influx of tourism and investors. The construction of luxurious hotels and casinos along the boardwalk marked the beginning of a new era in Atlantic City’s history, allowing for its expansion into a major gaming destination.

Resorts Casino Hotel: The First Casino in Atlantic City

Resorts Casino Hotel holds the title of the first casino in Atlantic City and remains one of the largest and most popular casinos in the city. Located on the Boardwalk, the casino opened in 1978 and was the first casino to open outside of Nevada after gambling in Atlantic City was legalized. Since its opening, Resorts Casino Hotel has undergone multiple renovations and expansions, making it one of the top casinos in Atlantic City history. Today, the casino boasts more than 2,500 slot machines and 80 table games, with over 100,000 square feet of gaming space.

Caesars Atlantic City

Caesars Atlantic City is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Boardwalk. It opened in 1979 and is known for its high-end amenities like the rooftop pool and the Qua Baths and Spa. This old Atlantic City hotel and casino has become extremely popular due to its numerous transformations, boasting more than 1,800 slot machines and 130 table games today.

Bally’s Atlantic City

Opened in 1979, Bally’s Atlantic City, with its classic Las Vegas-style theme, is one of the most historic hotels in the area. The casino at Bally’s features more than 1,500 slot machines and 120 table games, making it a popular spot for gambling in Atlantic City. The hotel also features a variety of dining options, a spa, and an indoor pool. Through more recent Atlantic City history, Bally’s has had several facelifts, including the renovation of the Dennis Tower, adding the Wild West Casino, and acquiring and incorporating The Claridge Hotel. Bally’s is also famous for its Boardwalk Saloon, which features a prohibition-era theme and live music.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City is the first casino in Atlantic City’s Marina District. It’s changed hands a couple of times and gone through several renovations to stay competitive. New additions include the Atrium Tower, Marina Tower, Bayview Tower, and Waterfront Tower, which offers stunning views of the marina and Atlantic City skyline. The luxury hotel and casino opened in 1980 and today is well-known for its amenities, featuring more than 3,800 slot machines and 130 table games, a variety of dining options, a theater, and a nightclub.

Experience the Atlantic City Legacy and Redefine the Game With BetMGM

Atlantic City’s history is closely tied to its famous hotels and casinos. From the iconic Claridge Hotel to the first casinos in Atlantic City, the city holds a rich cultural setting that has helped make it the entertainment powerhouse it is today. With the new era of live dealer casino games joining the fold, the city truly has something for everyone. 

If you can’t make it to the Jersey Shore, you can still register with BetMGM to get a piece of the action. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the city’s rich history, or prepare for your next gaming marathon, Atlantic City provides a healthy balance of entertainment and relaxation.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.