ATLANTIC CITY - Margaritaville, the sprawling Jimmy Buffett-inspired dining and entertainment complex at Resorts Casino, was unveiled Thursday, with Gov. Christie cutting the ribbon.

"This place is an example of the fun and entertainment that Atlantic City can be all about," said the Republican governor, who was introduced by Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority chief executive officer Mitchell Etess.

The authority became co-owner of Resorts with majority owner Morris Bailey last year, and the 40,000-square-foot Margaritaville project was among the first announced by the partnership. Mohegan Sun also owns casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

"Resorts is going to be where there's fun this summer. We're opening the eyes of gamblers to entertainment," Etess said at the East Coast Gaming Congress on Wednesday at Boardwalk Hall. "It's not just about adding a chain restaurant to a casino. We're changing the whole attitude."

Margaritaville pays tribute to the lyrics and beachy lifestyle of Buffett and his Parrothead followers. Seashells, a boat, fishing rods, and nets outfit the space, which will feature bands on stage every night. The complex includes a Margaritaville restaurant, the LandShark Bar & Grill, a Margaritaville-themed casino, the Five O'Clock Somewhere Bar, a retail store, and a coffee shop - all but one of which had soft openings about a week ago.

The exception: the Landshark Bar & Grill, which literally sits on the sand and officially debuts Friday.

Built at a cost of $35 million, Margaritaville made up half of a $70 million expansion and renovation of Resorts, the oldest casino in town. It was 35 years ago this Memorial Day weekend (May 26, 1978) that Resorts opened as Atlantic City's first casino, and the first one outside Nevada.

Atlantic City's Margaritaville joins 13 others in the United States, including in Las Vegas and New Orleans. There are 27 worldwide.

Atlantic City is banking on such nongaming attractions to help bolster tourism and investment in the face of casino revenues that have been on the decline since 2006.


Read our guide to summer activities, events, and food at the Shore at EndText

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