Just ahead of the busy summer season in Atlantic City, real estate developer Bart Blatstein last week announced that May 15 would be the grand opening of Lucky Snake at Showboat, a site that Mayor Marty Small Jr. called “Dave & Buster’s … on steroids.”
The project is billed as the largest arcade in the state, at 100,000 square feet. That includes a 25,000-square-foot sports bar complete with a 20 x 20 boxing ring.
The press conference took a theatrical flair when the Philadelphia-based Blatstein arrived with a 14-foot albino Burmese python wrapped around his neck.
Showboat, which ended its casino operations in 2014 by a decision of owner Caesars Entertainment during a period when four casinos closed in one year in the city, is the largest non-casino hotel in Atlantic City.
The arcade games promised include “the world’s largest crane game in addition to the classics from the 1980s through today and the hottest new titles and virtual reality games, as well as basketball games, pinball, and skee ball.” Miniature golf also will be offered.
As with smaller Jersey Shore arcades, there will be prizes — in this case, everything from candy, to designer purses and jewelry, to cars and motorcycles, and even all-inclusive vacations.
A rewards program is planned to be comparable to those found at casinos, and unlimited game play packages, or game play with food and beverage packages, also will be available.
Live entertainment on the Boardwalk
Live entertainment also will be offered on a daily basis at the property along the iconic Boardwalk, and the “speakeasy” concept reminiscent of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire will feature the famous Riviera casino sign from the Las Vegas strip.
Showboat’s summer attractions plans include a June 12 celebrity boxing match between ex-NBA player Lamar Odom and singer Aaron Carter. The following weekend will feature the Black Excellence music festival.
Blatstein bought Showboat in 2016 and reopened the site as a hotel later that year. Two years later, Blatstein announced plans to open a new casino on the grounds — causing concern among the city’s nine existing casinos about potential cannibalization of revenue.
But Blatstein seemed to shift gears last December, opting to build a $100 million indoor water park with expected state aid to construct it. And on Thursday, Blatstein announced that the project had grown, adding another $29 million to the price tag.
More attractions planned at Showboat
Among the plans are for a retractable domed outdoor concert hall that can fit 8,000 fans and would be called “The Dome” and constructed on a current parking lot; an outdoor beer garden to be called “The Beach Club”; and an extension of the Boardwalk to create a sun deck near the beach’s sand dunes.
The latter attractions will be opening in summer 2022, Blatstein said. The same likely goes for the water park, with a groundbreaking — and more theatrics — expected late next month.
“We’re going to be the first true year-round family resort in Atlantic City,” Blatstein added. “It makes sense to bring all these things together in one spot so that people have a place to go if they’re not just interested in gambling.”
An aquarium and a giant Ferris wheel are among other family attractions, but the city still mainly is defined by its adults-only casino floors.
But if Blatstein has his way, that will change.
“Everybody loves an arcade,” Blatstein told Philadelphia magazine. “People can walk out of a movie not enjoying the movie. People can walk out of a casino and not have a good time, especially if they lose money. But who doesn’t have a good time at an arcade?”
Photo by Shutterstock