Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino Rolls the Dice for a Gay Clientele

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Borgata Entrance

The entrance to the Borgata Casino, lit for an evening's entertainment

“If there was no Atlantic City there’d be no Monopoly!” shouted a woman as we approached the storied city known for beaches, boardwalks and busy casinos.

Charles Darrow launched the board game in 1933 inspired by beachside city where he spent his childhood vacations. The city grew in popularity during Prohibition days as a place where local authorities turned a cheek and offered rum-runners a safe port. HBO’s Boardwalk Empire recently dramatized the spirit of Atlantic City’s dark and controversial rise in the 1920s, which eventually led to a decline in the middle part of the last century. In 1976 this seaside resort became the first American location to legalize casinos outside Nevada. The ’80s and ’90s brought a big boom with high end casinos with glitter, gold and Donald Trump. In 1999 the Atlantic City Redevelopment Authority worked with Steve Wynn to develop a tunnel to the Marina section of town. This development, “The Tunnel Project,” essentially paved the way to the 2003 Grand Opening of The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, owned and operated by MGM Resorts International and considered the first “Las Vegas style” casino in AC. The striking main tower, seen for miles with its reflective gold glass facade, is joined by The Water Club, a 43-story boutique hotel connected to Borgata.

In addition to the abundance of sparkling Chihuly glass sculptures (over $5 Million of them, in fact) Borgata has 2,000 guest rooms and suites and the cosmopolitan Water Club adds an additional 800 guest rooms and suites. The property in total has 184 gaming tables, 3,038 slot machines (including the enticing Betty White Storytime slot) , a 75+ table poker room, ten retail boutiques including Hugo Boss, Misura, Tumi & Whim), five fine dining restaurants featuring such chefs as Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian & Wolfgang Puck, nine casual dining options, a 54,000 square foot spa, and four signature nightlife options. As one of the preeminent entertainment resorts in Atlantic City, Borgata offers an extraordinary lineup of concerts and shows featuring acts like Boy George, Theresa Caputo, Mariah Carey, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and Kathy Griffin.

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is also a proud member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association as well as the Independence Business Alliance, Philadelphia’s NGLCC-affiliated Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance. For the past two years, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named Borgata one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” in 2017 after the resort received a perfect 100% from the organization’s Corporate Equality Index.

Borgata recently hosted their 26th installment of the Miss’d America Pageant at the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Queer Eye For The Straight Guy breakout star Carson Kressley returned to host this year’s pageant which featured featured seven finalists: Pattaya Hart (the winner), Tina Burner, Savannah Savonier, Jenna Tall, Adriana Trenta, Sapphira Cristal, and Morgan Morgan Morgan. Kressley’s friends Gary L. Hill and John J. Schultz, who run the Schultz Hill Foundation, started started Miss’d America to raise funds for GLBT causes with a focus on AIDS and HIV awareness, treatment and progressive efforts to save lives. Miss’d America has raised and contributed over $350,000 for regional GLBT charities since its inception. The pageant festivities also featured a musical performance by Frankie Z, the Melanie Rice Orchestra and the Miss’d America Dancers.

While it’s certainly fun to head down to AC for a big event like Miss’d America or to see a first-rate comedy act or concert, there are a variety of packages and tailored escape packages assembled especially for the LGBT community. The “Out at Borgata Hotel Package” starts at $319 and features a one-night stay in the Fiore Suite with two day passes to enjoy Spa Toccare’s men’s and women’s lounges as well as $50 towards any Borgata signature restaurant or in-room dining, plus two complimentary cocktails at B Bar.

Be sure to bring your appetite when heading to the Borgata, be it for a day trip, a weekend adventure or more. The new Angeline restaurant is Iron Chef and James Beard Award winning chef Michael Symon’s nod to classic Italian food, delivering his mother Angeline’s special Sunday red-sauce and classic family recipes. Chef Michael Shulson’s hot spot is Izakaya, inspired from the traditional casual Japanese pubs. Nibble on small plates or the chef’s full-tasting menu and immediately be transported to a Japanese lounge without even leaving the casino floor.

If you’re hungry for a more decadent culinary expedition, head down to AC for the upcoming Savor Borgata the Ultimate Food Experience from November 10-11 at a variety of events like Friday night’s “The Evolution of Cabernet” with Master Sommelier Robert Bigelow, “A Taste of the Mediterranean” with Chef Luca Bizzari, Saturday’s Lunch with Bobby Flay at Bobby Flay Steak, Cavatelli Making 101 with Michael Symon and a special Culinary Demonstration with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Later this month Mariah Carey will be popping in with her special holiday-themed show on November 25th followed by Christmas Queens featuring an evening of (more) drag including appearances by Bob the Drag Queen, Phi Phi O’Hara, Violet Chachki and Sherry Vine in the Music Box on December 2.

A trip to Atlantic City wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Boardwalk. Take a snapshot of your hand in than handprints of Cher, Stevie Wonder or Frank Sinatra in AC’s “Entrance to the Stars”, scope out the 228-step Abescon Lighthouse, hop a ride at the Steel Pier, check into the Boardwalk Hall (where Miss America is crowned annually), say hello to Lucy the Margate Elephant, or just take a bite into some delicious Salt Water Taffy (said to originate at David Bradley’s candy store in 1883). If Lady Luck was especially kind to you it might be a good idea to hit the local Tanger Outlets so you can truly roll home in style.

Interested in checking in at Borgata Hotel & Casino? Check out their site: theborgata.com

Last modified: November 8, 2017

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