Bally’s Atlantic City Casino Making a Comeback

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A marquee at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino displays a message. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings bought the Bally’s brand and has now adopted the Bally’s name for the entire company. Essentially, it’s the old name with a fresh new set of owners. And when those owners took a stroll along Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk, they noticed that the rose-colored glass of the towering Bally’s casino was bespeckled with blue.

The reason? The broken windows were replaced by the incongruent blue squares that signaled for all to see that if there was such blatant disregard for the aesthetics on the outside, what could the inside possibly look like? In short, the property was a mess and it needed TLC in a big way.

Phil Juliano, an executive with Twin Rivers which is now the new Bally’s, was the one who first noticed the glaring blemishes on what was once the most enviable property in Atlantic City.

Juliano recalls the moment vividly, “I said, ‘That’s it. By the middle of July, every window in that grand, iconic hotel tower that was fixed in a blue color will be rose. It’s symbolic of what we intend to do. Under this leadership, this place will sparkle.”

The new management team has lived up to their word and the building is now resplendent in rose and the gains are beginning to show on the balance sheet. Although still trailing the other eight casinos in Atlantic City, the winnings at Bally’s were up a whopping 44.5 percent over the same period last year to $123 million.

Soohyung Kim, the company’s chairman of the board, was asked about the optimistic financial data received but he was far more restrained when he said, “The jury is out, I would say. We always knew that Atlantic City was a challenge, and so we structured the deal so that we had a lot of flexibility. It is a city that has not reinvested in itself the way it needs to.”

The new management team intends on spending $100 million in renovations and makeovers to the facility over the next four to five years. They also plan to make a major push in publicizing the new-look Bally’s and wooing old customers back to the casino that took them for granted. They have also put bids on two possible locations in Chicago while owning 14 casinos from Rhode Island to Colorado.

“We will be the most aggressive marketing company in Atlantic City, and we will prove that,” Juliano said. “We also realize that the quality of your facility has to match up with that aggressive marketing.”

“We’re spending money to bring it up to a level that we think it deserves, and we think we’ll get a return on that money,” Kim said.

The improvements are underway and a new FanDuel sportsbook is in operation. A new look for the guestrooms and a more contemporary vibe to the bar and lounges are already appearing. They have also added five new restaurants to the venue and are hoping that the word spreads quickly that Bally’s is back with a vengeance and the improvements have only just begun.