ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Atlantic City’s newest casinos threw open their doors to gamblers Wednesday — a day earlier than scheduled.
The previously shuttered Hard Rock and the Ocean Resort Casino were supposed to open Thursday, but both received permission Wednesday afternoon from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to begin full operations, and both immediately started letting gamblers inside.
Both properties still plan elaborate grand openings Thursday.
David Rebuck, director of the gaming enforcement division, said Hard Rock was cleared for full operations as of 3 p.m., and Ocean Resort as of 5:45 p.m. Both wasted little time letting gamblers inside — even as they pleaded for people to come to their scheduled grand openings on Thursday.
“For the past three days, Ocean Resort Casino has undergone a detailed and thorough review by the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, during which time every aspect of our operation was inspected,” said Bruce Deifik, Ocean Resort’s owner in a statement to CBS3. “I am thrilled to announce that due in large part to our dedicated and experienced team members, our partners and our community, we have passed the review and received approval to remain open. I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved in this process – particularly the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, which has been an extremely helpful and collaborative partner throughout this process – and am excited to now start welcoming guests to the new Ocean Resort Casino.”
“We are open for business and everyone is welcome right now,” Frank Leone, the casino’s CEO tells the Associated Press.
Hard Rock, in particular, did not want to take away from the impact of its Thursday grand opening, which will include celebrities and a mass guitar smashing on the Boardwalk before noon.
Todd Moyer, Hard Rock’s senior vice president of marketing confirmed to CBS3 that they too opened early.
“At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City received official notice from the Division of Gaming Enforcement that the property passed all requisite tests and was granted an operation certificate. Join us tomorrow at 11 a.m. for our legendary guitar smash to celebrate our grand opening,” Moyer said in a statement.
The Hard Rock is the former Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Resort is the former Revel.
They were two of the five Atlantic City casinos that had shut down since 2014. Together, they will restore about 6,000 of the 11,000 jobs that were lost in the shutdowns.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)