Saturday, February 6, 2016

POSTED: Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:56 AM
Atlantic Club chief financial officer, Michael Frawley, head of the smallest gambling hall at the seaside resort stands in the hotel lobby of his resort. They seem like strange bedfellows, but with Gov. Christie weighing on whether to sign off on legalizing Internet gaming in the Garden State, it all makes sense. Rational Group US Holdings, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, is asking New Jersey casino regulators for permission to buy the tiny Atlantic Club . Atlantic Club chief financial officer, Michael Frawley, head of the smallest gambling hall at the seaside resort - and its workforce of 1,700. ATLANTIC01 01/30/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

Atlantic City’s long-ailing gaming industry is celebrating this week’s signing of a bill by Gov. Chris Christie that legalizes intrastate online gambling.

For the most part, a celebration is in order as casino biz analysts put the potential windfall from digital gaming in nine figures annually. But upon further review, the question is begged: At what price will AyCee benefit from cyber-wagering?

POSTED: Friday, February 22, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Food Network stars Patrick and Gina Neely are among the all-star chefs already booked for the 5th annual Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival. Photo:

It’s only late February, but the folks at Caesars have already started booking top stove jockeys for the fifth annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, which takes place July 25-28 at the four Caesars properties (Bally’s Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat).

Already on board are Robert Irvine (“Dinner Impossible”), Rocco DiSpirito (“Now Eat This!”) and The Neelys (“Down Home with The Neelys”). More culinary all-stars will be added to the roster in the days ahead.

In addition to presentations by big-time chefs, the festival will feature various events that have proven popular in the past. These include The Grand Market, which event organizers like to hype as a foodie’s bazaar, the gospel brunch and Blues Brews & BBQ, which blends grilling with live blues performances.

POSTED: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 4:18 PM
Smoke and flames billow from a burning vehicle following a shooting and multi-car accident on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. The Las Vegas Strip became a scene of deadly violence early Thursday when, authorities say, someone in a black Range Rover opened fire on a Maserati, sending it crashing into a taxi that burst into flames, leaving three people dead and at least six injured. (AP Photo/Erik Lackey)

This is why Atlantic City can’t win:

Early Thursday morning a shootout in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip left three dead and six wounded.

This is bad enough, but according to the Huffington Post: “The incident marked the latest violence on the Strip since the beginning of the year. Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed Saturday in an elevator at The Hotel at MandalayBay.”

POSTED: Friday, February 15, 2013, 9:21 AM
Racks of food are rolled into Trump Plaza, preparing to reopen Friday. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Absent in Thursday’s announcement about the sale of Trump Plaza casino-hotel to Southern California-based Meruelo Gaming Holdings LLC was any mention of what exactly the new owner plans to do with the aging midtown complex once it receives the keys.

It’s just a hunch, but an existing Atlantic City gambling den may offer a pretty good idea of what’s in store.

It was only a couple of years ago that Houston-based Landry Inc., a hospitality giant whose signature brands include Morton’s The Steakhouse and The Chart House, bought the former Trump Marina for the bargain-basement fee of $38 million. The low-ball price allowed Landry to invest some $150 million in a complete—make that startling—makeover that turned what had been a property with all of the charm of a bus terminal into the sleek and vibrant Golden Nugget.

POSTED: Thursday, February 14, 2013, 11:19 AM
Miss New York Mallory Hagan is crowned Miss America 2013 by Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Unlike so many of my colleagues in the media, I have no beef at all with the Miss America Pageant which, today officially announced its return, after seven years in Las Vegas, to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, where it was born more than 90 years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed the weeks I spent in AyCee throughout the 1990s covering the event, and considering all of the dangers lurking out there for young women, I see absolutely nothing wrong with encouraging scholarship and social engagement on their part.

While neither of my two grown daughters ever expressed any interest in entering the Miss A program, I would have wholeheartedly endorsed their decisions to do so had they been so inclined.

POSTED: Thursday, January 31, 2013, 11:56 PM
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British superstar Sting is booked at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in mid-June. Photo:

Who has the biggest name announced to date for summer 2013? Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, where on June 13 and 14, mono-monikered music man Sting will headline the Event Center.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Feb. 16 for Der Stingle’s Big B gigs (if you want a head start, join his fan club, whose members can score ducats  beginning 10 a.m. Feb. 13). No ticket-price info has been released, but it’s probably safe to assume at least some seats will top $100 (not including taxes and the ever-popular service fees).

The Borgata dates are part of the second leg of Sting’s “Back to Bass” tour which commenced last year. It is so named because unlike on recent road trips, the catch-throated Brit megastar plays bass guitar, the instrument he wielded during his 1980s run as the top cop in The Police.

POSTED: Friday, January 25, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Jeannie Duffy is one of two WPT Royal Flush Girl hosting sit-'n'-go poker tournaments at Borgata Sunday and Monday. Photo: www.

Pretty soon, they’ll be calling Tropicana Atlantic City “Little Philly.”

Last week, we reported on Chickie’s & Pete’s plans to build a two-level, 16,000-square-foot, Boardwalk-fronting operation at the casino-hotel located in AyCee’s Chelsea district. Now comes word that another of the Quaker City’s culinary signatures will be pitching a tent at the Trop.

POSTED: Friday, January 18, 2013, 11:19 AM
The interior design of the planned Chickie's & Pete's outlet at Tropicana Atlantic City will be based on that of the outlet at Parx casino in Bensalem.

Although there have been attempts, Atlantic City has yet to see the establishment of a truly first-class sports bar. But that is expected to change later this year when Chickie’s & Pete’s opens inside Tropicana Atlantic City.

The Trop outpost of the ever-growing regional sports-bar chain will encompass two Boardwalk-front floors on the western side of the property. Plans call for a space of about 16,000 square feet containing 50 High-Def TVs, the PLAY2 Interactive gaming system that has proven to be a hit at the C’s&P’s inside Parx casino in Bensalem—whose upscale interior design owner Pete Chiarrocci said will be the basis for the new eatery’s layout and décor.

For Chiarrocci, establishing a (next-to-the) beachhead in AyCee is a no-brainer. “Bringing the crabs to the ocean will really work for us,” he predicted, adding that his stores in Ocean City and Wildwood are very successful.

About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at Reach Chuck at

Chuck Darrow