With the legalization of online gaming in New Jersey on November 26, casinos in Atlantic City (and the people who run them) could be panicking about a potential loss of revenue. Instead, these leaders have spent the last year redoubling efforts to find new ways to keep customers coming through the doors. Thankfully for travelers, the result is an explosion of diversions at casino resorts up and down the Atlantic City Boardwalk. In some cases, there are even some new gaming options, too.

My favorite of all the additions: Margaritaville, a Parrothead wonderland located inside the Resorts Casino HotelBuilt to evoke the laid-back vibe of a Jimmy Buffett song by the same name, Margaritaville is designed to inspire visitors to kick back and chill. Servers wear grass skirts and bikinis. Palm fronds (fake ones) abound. In certain spots, there’s even real sand (casino reps wouldn’t comment if this sand was from the Florida Keys or the beach just east of the Boardwalk outside).


Much like the Margaritaville-themed destination at Flamingo Las Vegas, the complex features a mini-casino (complete with Parrothead-themed chips), a restaurant, a “Five O’Clock Somewhere” bar, retail stores, and a LandShark Bar and Grill restaurant. The A.C. branch also has a coffee shop (which, IMHO, doesn’t really fit the Parrothead vibe, but, as a native Northeasterner, I can attest to the fact that we all really love our coffee.)

Elsewhere in town, locals are buzzing about the sultry and sexy vibe inside HQ Beach Club, a new entertainment offering in tandem with HQ Nightclub at the ultra-swanky Revel Atlantic City (the city’s newest resort).

Inside this club, the boardwalk-level pool lounge hugs the slick curvature of the resort’s exterior, and features a triangular pool with underwater speakers that quite literally shake your body when you’re swimming underwater. The pool is ringed by two bars, tables, daybeds, and bungalows. Even in winter (thanks to heat lamps), the party here rages throughout the day, and continues into night.

Also in the nightclub department, the Golden Nugget recently added a new hotspot as part of a $150 million transformation last year. The club, dubbed Haven, features a funky LED video wall, state-of-the-art light display, and an open-air (but covered) patio that occasionally has blackjack tables. A number of casinos added new restaurants and bars, too.

Viewfinder Tip: If you’re staying at an Atlantic City casino resort, ask at check-in for passes to the on-site nightclub. The amenity could save you big bucks.

The Tropicana Casino & Resort, for instance, one of the city’s oldest casinos, tricked out its Boardwalk-front marketplace with four new eateries: Broadway Burger Bar at The Quarter, Tony Luke’s, Casa Taco & Tequila Bar, and Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar. (Chickie’s and Pete’s might be my favorite new place in town to watch a big game.)

With offerings like these in Atlantic City, you no longer have to gamble to win big.

What are your favorite non-gambling activities when you visit a casino resort?