Reader Eric Rosenthal shares his local casino…Caesars Palace Atlantic City.
My local casino was at one point a very popular tourist destination. As gaming competition has grown in all surrounding states, Atlantic City has become more and more of a locals market. While there have always been day trippers and same day bus trips, it seems more and more that I see many of the same faces when I visit. My favorite of the Atlantic City properties is Caesars. It has many similarities to the flagship Caesars Palace, Las Vegas with a number of differences as well.
While both properties maintain the theming of the Roman Empire, the Atlantic City version does so on a less grandiose scale. While in the hotel lobby, there is no doubt where you are standing. The statues and decoration scream Caesars in all its gaudy glory. The theming is what originally attracted me to Caesars Palace and it is the most consistent of any of the Atlantic City properties in that regard, in my opinion.
Caesars Atlantic City offers two main draws to “locals” like myself. As a Caesars Entertainment Property, it participates in the Total Rewards customer/gaming loyalty program. Many of us play locally with the intent to earn comps and use them here or in many other destinations such as Las Vegas. As we ascend through the different tiers, many of us do not have to pay for rooms or the parking/resort fees in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Loyalty to this program has made a considerable difference in negating the “nickel and diming” many visitors feel in both locations. It also allows me to frequent Las Vegas more often due to this perk. The boardwalk and the beach are the other differentiators between Atlantic City and other nearby locals casinos. Having grown up in NJ, I’m no stranger to boardwalks or the shore. This one is special, it has history and charm and is the home of some of the most entertaining people-watching NJ has to offer. Pro tip: Caesars will provide and set up beach chairs and umbrellas for free (for diamond members and higher). Summer time it’s a great experience having beach bars, restaurants and hotel rooms in the very near proximity.
The casino is well run and dealers are generally friendly, and extremely competent. The craps dealers, in particular, are typically a cut above what I find most other places. The lower level of the casino houses the nicest Asian gaming room in Atlantic City. The Asian room, Palace East, offers Baccarat, Pai Gow (Poker and Tiles) and Asia Poker. Drink service is exceptional and they sometimes have food trays out for players. Dealers and Pitt bosses have always gone out of their way to make all players feel welcomed and comfortable.
The casino floor really has something for everybody. Craps tables offer 5x odds, Blackjack pays 3:2 in the lower level ($15 min) and they have a full bank of full pay Jacks or Better (9/6). A wide variety of slots are available from penny slots to $1,000 denomination.
For those more interested in dining than gambling, Caesars Atlantic City has enough restaurants to satisfy any appetite. Numerous options from upscale to casual and of course the requisite casino coffee shop and buffet. Caesars is also attached to The Playground which contains shopping and many dining options with an incredible view. While the Playground and much of Atlantic City has seen hard times in the past few years, it still remains a great option to get a fantastic meal overlooking the ocean.
Compared to other “locals” casinos I’ve been to around the country, I feel fortunate to have this in my back yard. The drinks come quickly, plenty of options for food, and if you know where to look, they give you a fair gamble.
[Photos: Eric Rosenthal | Cover: Christopher DiMauro]