Although on a much smaller level, not since Bally's Atlantic City opened Wild Wild West in 1997 has a casino so fully embraced a theme as Resorts Casino Hotel. Its Margaritaville Casino - or, more accurately, slot parlor - features 160 slot machines set amidst stylized palm branches and other tropical flourishes.
The casino within a casino is intimate, yet open, and in the background you're sure to hear some of your favorite Jimmy Buffett music. There's even a view of the Boardwalk if you're sitting in the right place. And, at the risk of sounding sexist, single women and groups of ladies should feel comfortable in the semi-private light and airy surroundings. The casino even has its own restrooms.
The machines are nicely spaced, and the Margaritaville-logoed seats are fully adjustable and very comfortable. You'll find many of your favorite slots, from old stand-bys such as Russian Treasure, Gold Fish and Twin Win, to new ones such as The Dream, as well as a variety of video poker machines.
As you enter the casino, the area to the left is smoking, to the right it's non-smoking.
A big plus is the casino's proximity to food and beverage outlets. EastWind Noodle Bar is adjacent to the casino and offers both table service and takeout. Across the way is Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, a restaurant and bar with full-service menu. Around the corner is the first Margaritaville Coffee Shop, a self-service venue offering a variety of hot and cold beverages, pastries and other snacks to take away or enjoy at one of a limited number of tables.
Not far away is the circular It's 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar. Next to it are 12 Margaritaville-themed table games.
Just one thing to be aware of: Unlike many casino bars and restaurants, you cannot bring alcoholic beverages into either the Margaritaville restaurant/bar or the It's 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar. You may, however, take drinks out.
Ask Mr. AC Casino
Q: I split my play between Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Pa., and Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City. I've noticed that when I use free play at Harrah's Philadelphia it doesn't count toward increasing my tier score like it used to. Will this happen next time I play in Atlantic City?
A: Harrah's Resort is part of a Caesars Entertainment-wide player loyalty program, Total Rewards. The system is being updated throughout the United States and Canada, so, yes, eventually, your free play no longer will count toward increasing your tier score and - in Atlantic City - toward earning future cashback in the form of free play. No specific date has been announced for the conversion in Atlantic City, but, when it does, at Harrah's (and Bally's Atlantic City), if you're using free play, you'll notice that the "Session Points" on the Total Touch screen will remain at "0" until you play with cash. At Caesars Atlantic City and Showboat Casino-Hotel, remove your player's card and reinsert it to refresh the small LED screen. Until you begin using cash, "Tier Credits Earned Today" will remain at "0".
Have a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, player's club or other promotion? Email Mr. AC Casino at darryl@21stSensoryManagement.com. He'll try to respond to you personally, and your question - without your name - may appear in a future column.
New on the casino floor
• It's not a big leap from video games to slot machines, so it's no surprise that the popular Plants vs. Zombies has found its way onto the casino floor. The game, first released in 2009 and installed on more than 120 million devices worldwide, involves a homeowner using many varieties of plants to repel an army of zombies from "eating their brains." The base game has three different kinds of random wilds and offers the chance to win one of three progressives, plus there are a number of other bonus features. If you've never played the video game, don't worry, you'll have no trouble understanding the slot machine version. Currently, Plants vs. Zombies may be found at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Tropicana Casino and Resort. At Borgata, Plants vs. Zombies is near MIXX and the Amphora Lounge - around the corner from Family Guy (see below) and at Tropicana Casino and Resort, Plants vs. Zombies is toward the Boardwalk end of the casino. Look for it soon at Resorts Casino Hotel.
• If you ever played Aladdin & The Magic Quest, you'll have some idea of what's in store when you play Spider-Man. The Aladdin machines in Atlantic City have all been retrofitted with new graphics and computer chips to display the new game with a seat synchronized to the action on the screen. It's called "Sensory Immersion 2.0 Motion Chair Technology" - a fancy way of saying that your chair moves up and down, and back and forth, and has high quality Bose speakers embedded in the headrest. Play Spider-Man at Bally's Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort, Showboat Casino-Hotel and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Look for it soon at Resorts Casino Hotel. Ask a slot attendant where you can find Spider-Man.
• For another type of adventure that's more land-based, become your favorite NASCAR driver and take to the track in this latest title from Bally Technologies. Pick from one of five popular drivers - Kevin Harvick (29), Clint Bowyer (15), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Jeff Gordon (24) or Jimmie Johnson (48) - then wait for the U Race Bonus where you'll help navigate his car around Daytona International Speedway, collecting credits along the course. Trigger one of two other bonuses for even more exciting action. NASCAR is currently available at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa near the Gypsy Bar, Old Homestead Steak House and Izakaya, at Golden Nugget Atlantic City across from Lillie's between Grotto and Rush, and is coming soon to Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
• Another popular television show has come to the casino floor in the form of a slot machine. Family Guy joins Cheers, Star Trek, American Idol, Judge Judy and array of game shows and comedies. Follow the adventures of the Griffin family in Quahog, R.I., as each character - Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie and Brian - offers a different bonus. Adding to the fun are periodic clips from the animated sitcom. Play Family Guy at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa over by MIXX and the Amphora Lounge, at Harrah's Resort near the X-Bar, at Tropicana near the South Tower elevators, and look for it soon at Resorts Casino Hotel.
Unlike most casinos, Resorts Casino Hotel, Revel and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort are running promotions that don't require any play; however, you'll need a player's card and you should be prepared to wait in line.
• At Resorts Casino Hotel through Sept. 21, over near the main cashier, play the Tropical Treasure Game with its million-dollar grand prize from noon to midnight every day. Between noon and midnight Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, it's Blackjack Paradise where you play one free hand against the dealer to win $150 when you are dealt a same suit blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack against your winning hand your prize is doubled. You'll find the dealers among the table games near the 25 Hours bar and lounge.
• Through June 28, all Revel cardholders can play Fortune 8 Ball. Think of it as a giant Magic 8-Ball. Look for it on the casino floor near the escalator from the Boardwalk. Swipe your Revel Card daily from noon to 8 p.m. for a chance to win $1 million and other prizes. (While there's a limit of one free swipe per day, earn three Resort Dollars and get a bonus swipe.)
• Through July 6, each Trump One cardholder will receive one entry to win a vacation in England. The prize package includes roundtrip airfare for two adults (British Airways from Philadelphia), transfers from London Heathrow to St. Ermin's Hotel and return, minimum of three nights and four days hotel accommodations at St. Ermin's Hotel and The Real Downton Abbey Tour for two adults. A visit to Highclere Castle, home of TV's popular "Downton Abbey", is included in the package. Guests can choose this package or use $10,000 to create a package with a travel agent of their choosing. Entries must be activated between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. July 6; drawing is at 11 p.m. July 6. One person is guaranteed to win.
Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. He is based in Wilmington, Del. His column appears every other week.