The latest statistics compiled by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, show that visitation levels to Atlantic City have slumped to their lowest since the early 1980s. But officials are predicting that the opening of two casino hotels, Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, could reverse the downward trend, marking 2018 as a rebound year.

Located on a 20-acre tranche of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, the 1,399-room Ocean Resort Casino will become part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand when it opens for business this summer. The former Revel Casino Hotel, standing at 710 feet and 60 storeys, cost nearly $3bn to build in 2012. It will comprise a 138,000 sq ft casino with 100 table games, 2,200 slots and 160,000 sq ft of indoor meeting and convention space with a further 90,000 sq ft of outdoor event space.

“We are working to bring back some of the restaurants that were successful at the property and we have worked diligently to create some specialised new venues including a top Asian noodle bar and a high-end players club,” Bruce Deifik, the chairman of AC Ocean Walk, previously stated. He added that with the groundwork for the legalisation of sports betting, “we foresee a great opportunity to bring a state-of-the-art sports book to a city which caters to a large and diverse sports market.”

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, also scheduled for a summer launch, sits on a 17-acre site with the Boardwalk as its backdrop. The facility will offer a slew of gaming opportunities including 2,200 slots and 125 table games. Additionally, the casino will boast a rock-chic interior, and enviable food and beverage, with fine-dining steak and seafood concepts as well as casual eateries. Over 150,000 square feet of event space will accommodate large conventions, and smaller events and trade shows.

Much rests on the shoulders of the two casino resort openings. Visit-trips to Atlantic City in 2017 stood at 24.1 million, a 1.2 percent decrease over the previous year’s 24.4 million. That total marks the lowest visit-trip figure since 1982, when there were 22.9 million visit-trips. In 1987, the city recorded annual visit-trips of more than 30 million and maintained that level until 2010.

The Levenson Institute report stated: “The new arrivals to the Atlantic City tourism market can certainly be expected to generate considerable publicity and large crowds.The result of all this activity should be a significant surge in visit-trips to Atlantic City this summer.”