Those who aren’t up on their geography — or even those who are — may be surprised to learn that Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino in Windsor, Ontario, is south of Detroit — yes, Ontario in Canada.
The city sits on the tip of a peninsula that juts into Lake Erie, nearly meeting the edge of Detroit, except that the Detroit River separates the two. There’s even a public bus that runs between the two — both cities and countries.
“[Detroit] is our northern neighbor, and they’re a wonderful neighbor,” said Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. “We sell the region as a two-nation destination.”
Windsor became known for its gaming scene when Casino Windsor brought gambling to the city more than 20 years ago, Orr said. But that casino became a Caesars brand in 2008, and Caesars then added the Colosseum, a second hotel tower and 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space for up to 2,000 people.
The resort has more than 100,000 square feet of gaming and two hotel towers with 758 guest rooms, and the 5,000-seat Colosseum arena brings in performers such as Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Reba McEntire and Chris Rock.
Orr said Caesars Windsor “put us on the map,” but the casino has also become its own industry in the community, stimulating development around the resort and creating jobs.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Vegas may get a lot of attention as a gaming destination, but Atlantic City is the original gambling hot spot, which is precisely why Atlantic City officials want to let people know about all the other things the city offers.
“We’re known for gaming; we were the first East Coast gaming destination,” said Heather Colache, director of tourism for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.
Although there are other East Coast competitors today, “they’re not destinations; they’re just casinos,” she said. “People know that we have casinos here, so we like to promote our noncasino attractions.”
Atlantic City certainly has casinos — 11 of them. Revel Casino Hotel opened in April 2012, making it the city’s newest casino resort, with 1,400 guest rooms and 133,000 square feet of gaming space. Margaritaville also recently opened at Resorts Atlantic City casino, and it is the city’s only beach bar and restaurant that is open 365 days a year, Colache said.
Steel Pier, the city’s famous amusement park, recently underwent a $100 million makeover that added rides and restaurants and turned it into a year-round attraction. Steel Pier will also be building an observation wheel, planned to open in 2015.
Atlantic City was fortunate enough to get only minor damage from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. But there was damage to public perception. It took several months for the city to bounce back, Colache said.