Is it possible for a description of something to be so perfect that it’s almost too perfect?
The question came to mind during a visit to the Showboat hotel in Atlantic City over the weekend for the debut of Lucky Snake, billed as New Jersey’s largest arcade.
At a press conference in April to announce the site’s launch date, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. dubbed it “a Dave & Buster’s on steroids.” Now that NJ Online Gambling has toured the arcade, we can confirm the accuracy of that statement. It sets expectations appropriately.
There’s a 6-foot-high Pac-Man video game, a regulation-sized boxing ring, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and a cozy, private “gamer’s lounge.”
Beyond that, there’s the expected pinball machines, shoot-em-up video games, and so forth. A Penny Carnivale will appeal to the budget-minded.
There also are some lounge areas interspersed within the impressive 103,000-square-foot site (which includes a large sports bar), and even a couple of private party rooms, if letting your group’s youngsters loose on the expansive footprint seems like a stretch.
Good spot for an unexpected diversion
But for those families who weren’t aware of the mayor’s description, Lucky Snake likely will take them by surprise — and be a big hit with the kids.
On a hot afternoon just before or after a stint on the beach and/or some ice cream and cotton candy, Lucky Snake should burn off some of that youthful energy quite nicely.
An attraction called “the world’s largest crane game” rises from the floor to the ceiling. In true arcade fashion, extended play can enable players to claim prizes — up to and including cars, motorcycles, and exotic vacations. The boxing ring on Saturday featured a number of local boxers getting in their workouts.
And “real” — depending on how one uses that term — bouts are on the docket as well. On June 11, ex-NBA player and former Kardashian family member Lamar Odom is scheduled to fight Aaron Carter, with ex-Law & Order: SVU actor (among other things) Ice-T serving as “a celebrity host commentator.” Fear not, the fight is to be available on pay-per-view.
Much more to come at Showboat
Bart Blatstein, the prominent Philadelphia real estate developer, has far grander plans for the former casino site he purchased five years ago for $23 million.
A massive $100 million indoor water park is slated for a groundbreaking this summer, with a hoped-for summer 2022 opening to go with a 60,000-square-foot beer garden and a domed music venue that can hold up to 8,000 concert-goers.
An extension of the Boardwalk for a sun deck near the beach’s sand dunes also is in the planning stages.
The latter would be another example of the city’s casinos finally — after decades of ignoring the Atlantic Ocean — embracing the connection with the beach.
The Landshark Bar and Grill, just up the Boardwalk across from Resorts casino, exemplified that appeal on Saturday. While we’re still a couple of weeks shy of the traditional Memorial Day weekend launch of summer at the shore, Saturday’s comfortable temperatures in the 70s drew good crowds to the Boardwalk.
And for those of a certain age in particular, the lure of a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville restaurant detour proved irresistible. The lines that formed at lunchtime likely were dwarfed by those at the dinner hour, with limited bar seating now available along with both a view of the ocean and a feel of its breeze as lures.
Leisure industry analysts already are speculating that this summer may be a big one for locations like Las Vegas — or Atlantic City — thanks to a mass vaccination program that has gone a long way toward taming the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a level of excitement that exists now, where just a month or two ago people [in the industry] were just putting a good face on,” American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller said during a recent webinar. “Now, people are genuinely excited. People feel like they got a year of their lives stolen from them, and they want to get it back.”