Don’t go to the Hard Rock Atlantic City June 28 grand opening weekend celebration expecting to see any serious old-school rock ‘n rollers. The new casino is bringing in music superstars Carrie Underwood and Pitbull for the boardwalk resort’s kickoff, and, while popular, neither exactly falls under the “hard rock” music category.
Roughly 16 months after acquiring the former Trump Taj Mahal from billionaire Carl Icahn, and some $500 million in renovations later, Hard Rock Atlantic City will soon welcome guests to the casino resort that will feature a theme that pays homage to New Jersey’s rich music history.
Hard Rock will officially open on Thursday, June 28. The following night seven-time Grammy winner Underwood will take the 7,000-seat Etess Arena stage in front of what’s expected to be a sold-out crowd. Pitbull will headline Saturday night.
Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen said the resort is less focused on gaming, and more on entertainment. The venue is aiming to book 300 live concerts and shows in its first year of operation.
July will see Florida Georgia Line, Maroon 5, and Rascal Flatts perform at Hard Rock. Stone Temple Pilots, The Cult, Bush, Blake Shelton, Counting Crows, and Toby Keith will visit in August.
Ocean Resort Casino, the reimagined Revel, confirmed this week it too is opening June 28. The neighboring Boardwalk property is hoping to attract crowds with its Topgolf Swing Suite lounge, as well as smokers to its designated area on the casino floor.
Casino License Issued
In addition to announcing Underwood and Pitbull, Hard Rock Atlantic City received permission to have its gaming operations up and running for the June 28 opening weekend.
During a Wednesday meeting, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) signed off on the casino license application after receiving the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s inspection report. The gaming agency also approved key casino personnel to oversee floor operations.
The casino floor will measure nearly 120,000 square feet and feature 2,144 slot machines and 120 table games.
Along with its gaming space, Hard Rock AC will offer 1,472 standard guestrooms and 500 suites. There will be 11 dining options, from a 553-seat buffet to the renovated and expanded 400-seat Hard Rock Café.
Ocean Resort hopes to be approved for gaming at the CCC’s next meeting, which is scheduled for June 6.
Hiring Goals Reached
Hard Rock and Ocean Resort have successfully filled thousands of positions ahead of their openings next month. Before the CCC, Hard Rock Atlantic City President Matt Harkness said roughly 50,000 applications were received for the 4,000 job openings.
“I can’t tell you how many people literally had tears in their eyes once we extended them job offers,” Harkness told regulators. About 850 of the hires were Atlantic City residents, the president added.
Hard Rock accepted applications from recent graduates of the Atlantic and Cape May County Drug Court, which is being renamed Recovery Court. “If you’re sober and living a sober life, why wouldn’t we hire you?” asked Hard Rock Atlantic City investor Joseph Jingoli.
The casino has partnered with the local Unite Here casino union to make sure qualified drug court graduates receive the proper training before their first day on the job.