ATLANTIC CITY — The city is expecting up to one million people to visit Thursday through Sunday with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Resort Casino, as well as a weekend beach concert.
The opening of the two casinos on Thursday happens two days before Sunday's Sam Hunt beach concert, which is the first one of the summer for the resort.
Any one of the events by itself would cause a strain on the department’s resources, but all three combined present a unique challenge, police said.
“You got the perfect storm coming up,” Capt. Randy Lushina said Wednesday in the Atlantic City Headquarters for Intelligence Logistics Electronic Surveillance, or ACHILES.
Lushina estimated the city will see between 700,000 to one million people in and out of the city over four days.
The surveillance center’s boardwalk cameras are trained on the casinos to supplement patrols in the area, Lushina said. Retired police officers monitor the surveillance 24/7 and the cameras are also constantly recording.
Hardrock has hired city police officers for security details inside the casino as well as to help with traffic, Lushina said, and Oceans has hired details for their day and night clubs.
Lushina, who commands of the department’s Tourism District Unit, said that Class II, or seasonal officers, also will be on the boardwalk and around both casinos.
“We have about 15 officers up on the boardwalk at any one time,” he said. “Out of those 15, I’ve taken eight and assigned four to each casino.”
Each Class II is taking one of the four sides of each casino, including the boardwalk, side streets and the front, he said. They’ll be conducting property checks in the garages and patrolling the casinos lobbies.
They don’t enter the casino floor, he said, unless there’s an emergency.
There will also be units on the rest of the Boardwalk as well as Pacific Avenue.
Expressway traffic into the city may slow, but it will move, Lushina said, and there won’t be any traffic diverted.
”I definitely think that the traffic will be heavy, but I think it’ll move quick and I think people that’ll be stuck in it will be delighted that it’ll move quick,” he said.
Parking may be an issue, but in addition to the two casino garages, the Showboat and Resorts will act as “overflow casinos” where visitors may have more luck finding a parking spot or hotel room, he said.
In addition to the casinos, there’s metered parking on the street, he said.
“I think there’s a chance that all four of those casinos - including Resorts, the Showboat and the two new ones - I think they could all probably sell out of hotel rooms and I think they could all come very close to being almost full capacity in the parking garages,” for the four-day weekend, he said.