Gamblers in Atlantic City were afforded an early opportunity to check out the Boardwalk’s newest casino experiences yesterday, with both Ocean Resort and Hard Rock Casino opening their doors a day in advance of their respective grand launches. The venues were given special clearance by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to commence operations a day early, with Hard Rock given a 3pm green light and Ocean Resort 5.45pm.

The soft launches attracted significant interest from punters eager to gain an advance view of the newly refurbished properties. Ocean Resort was formerly badged the Revel, while Hard Rock Casino takes up the vacant shell left by the erstwhile Trump Taj Mahal.

As the Hard Rock commences trading, it will do so – at least in the short term – without the facility of a sportsbook. Ocean Resort, however, has a fully functioning sports betting area that will be run by William Hill. But while Hard Rock appears to be eschewing a sportsbook for now, it is reportedly working on a deal with a company to run such a facility with a view to modestly enhancing the casino’s profits.

With or without a sportsbook in place, the operator remains bullish on the outlook with Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen quoted in the New York Times as saying: “If a brand like Hard Rock fails in Atlantic City, the interest in investing capital in that town is going to diminish significantly. However, if we are successful, then I think the future is very bright in Atlantic City.”