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Boutique Rooms

Boutique Rooms

In case you haven’t heard, a couple of new hotels have opened this summer in Atlantic City. One was the Water Club, which we wrote about last month, and the other, just opened, is the “Chelsea.”

Both are hotels that (gasp!) do not have casinos. They’re billed as “boutique” hotels-from the Old French botique, which means, “Holy crap! You want WHAT for a room?”

Oh, I’m kidding. They’re not that unreasonable, and in fact, in non-peak times, the Chelsea is actually a bargain, even if I can’t get comped for dumping a lot of money into their video poker machines, since they don’t have video poker machines.

Hey, here’s an idea: Do you think maybe I can take the money I would have spent on video poker, and instead use it to actually purchase a room night?


OK, I’ll make you a deal. If you can tell me there’s a one-in-40,000 chance I’ll win a thousand bucks when I pay for the room, I’m there.

But getting back to my original point… OK, maybe I didn’t have one. But I’m rapidly formulating a point, honest.

Oh, yeah. Hotels. (Damn flashbacks.) The point is that these new hotels are only a drop in the ocean of the rooms that Atlantic City actually needs. For all the doom-and-gloom forecasts about dropping revenues in Atlantic City, you still can’t get a hotel room on a Saturday in the summer, because all the rooms are occupied by people who gamble enough to buy their own seaside resorts.

Too often, you’re forced to the outskirts of the city, to those wonderful motels you often see on the 6 o’clock news, illuminated by police lights. “Sea View Motel. Where Every Room Has A Window.”

Oh, well. At least you still have access to all the great shows by great casino headline entertainers. (Segue alert… segue alert… We are now entering a completely new subject… ) Or at least, to all the great performers who pretend they are great casino entertainers.

Is it me, or are there, like, a lot of “tribute” acts in casinos these days? I just saw a billboard advertising a revue show called Dancing Queen, with Abba impersonators.

Think of it. Impersonators of people who impersonated a rock band.
(If you’re an Abba fan, I apologize. They just always gave me the creeps.)

Then, of course, there are the Beatles acts. There are more Beatles tribute shows than there were actual shows by the Beatles. Some of them are musically quite good, but please. Enough with the fat guys in silly Beatle wigs.

A quick survey of the acts in casinos this summer shows that, in addition to Abba and the Fat Four, there are fake Led Zeppelins, fake Robin Williamses, fake Celine Dions, fake Patsy Clines, fake Everly Brothers, fake Tom Joneses. Trump Marina in Atlantic City even stages “Fakefest” every year, which is kind of like the Woodstock of simulated legends.

I even found a Ray Stevens tribute act! That’s the guy who did “The Streak!” I guess it doesn’t take much these days to generate a tribute act, eh? (Again, if there are Ray Stevens fans out there, I’m sorry. But he creeped me out even more than Abba.)

Why, I can remember when casino entertainment was genuine, and original. Like fat guys in Elvis suits.

With all these tribute acts running around, one wonders where the real performers are. Some of those old enough to have tribute acts are, of course, still running around casinos, trying to make their withered carcasses do the same moves they did when they were young. (“The Rolling Stones. Brought to you by Celebrex.”)

A few are still really good to go and see. Both of the living Beatles still put on great shows, although Sir Paul’s a bit beyond my budget these days. Ringo’s the best deal, and by the way, that’s where all the real performers are while their tribute acts caterwaul away. His “All Starr Band” plucks has-been rockers from the genre’s entire history, and usually, they’re performers who still have most of their faculties.

Next month, I’m going to have someone write Frankly Speaking for me. It’s going to be a Frank Legato tribute column.

I’d write it myself, but I have a room booked at the Sea View Motel.

Oh, boy! Free HBO!

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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