A little background info for you first:(I know, I do this a lot. But it helps, I swear.)
Being from Atlantic City, I’ve watched this town and the surrounding area go through great idea after great idea, many times followed by lack of follow through which leads to an ever-growing lack of faith in developers.
This news got me excited, albeit still cautiously optimistic because of exactly who is making it happen, but it’s cause for some hope anyway since Atlantic City has stutter-stepped(at best) to become more family friendly. I’m going to report all of the facts we know, but a story that’s so close to my home will undoubtedly lead me to hucking some opinion in here- bear with me. When The Showboat Casino & Hotel closed in 2014, many locals were heartbroken not because of the casino itself but because we lost our House Of Blues as well. It was one of the last bastions of real entertainment we had. I saw Huey Lewis & The News with some friends as my last concert ever it was honestly heartbreaking to know we would lose the only real "rock venue" the town had.
In 2014 alone, FOUR casinos closed in Atlantic City. The town was decimated.
Then came the promises of water parks. Sports teams. Red Bull Racing. Waterparks never came.
The new sports team, the Atlantic City Blackjacks lasted one season.
I can't even remember if the Red Bull races even happened...that's how exhausting it can be trying to keep up with promises made and kept here in South Jersey...but I feel like this one is a start because we have some proof and it might actually help.
The 103,000sqft "Lucky Snake Arcade" will officially debut on May 15th on the former casino floor on the main ground level. This area has been used for multiple events since Showboat re-opened as a non-gaming hotel in 2016 including NJ Horror Con and others. Showboat is physically connected to Hard Rock Hotel and Casino by a walkover bridge, so this gives it more accessibility as well. Many people who come to Atlantic City fear that they will be robbed or attacked if they leave the casino, despite wide reports of crime in the city being a fraction of what it was years ago.
Included in the arcade are games new and old of all kinds including skee-ball and "the world's largest Pac-Man machine that can be purchased", with boardwalk-style claw games and more. Bart Blatstein, owner of Showboat and prominent developer in Philadelphia is optimistic about the future of Atlantic City as a family resort, with the plans to open a $100m waterpark, a 60,000sqft beer garden and 60,000 sqft music venue at the north end of Atlantic City adjacent to Showboat.
Here's a video report by 6ABC news:
Atlantic City will likely always be a casino town, but this is a step in the right direction. I've been an advocate for pushing non-gaming amenities for years, but the overall mood of Atlantic City, especially during the pandemic has been rough to watch. Between the outside world's perception of things here in town and the local frustrations, it's been a rough past couple years on-top of a pandemic. You can expect Kulture Popped to report on the arcade's opening with some on-location coverage the weekend it opens. -Paul Brown is the founder of Kulture Popped and has an unhealthy obsession with Hawaiian Shirts.