Darryl McEwen

{standaloneHead}Darryl McEwen{/standaloneHead}

Unless you’re a high roller who gets meals comped, casino restaurants can take a big bite out of your gambling budget. Here’s a less expensive alternative: players lounges. Depending on their card level, many gamblers can eat and drink or free, or for less than $13 per person.

Note that only comp dollars may be used at these lounges; no cash is accepted. Also, unless otherwise specified, admission is limited to the cardholder and one guest. Servers bring beverages to your table, but food is self-service. In addition, each of the lounges has a bar. Here’s a breakdown on where they are, how to qualify for admission, when they’re open (hours are subject to change seasonally) and how much they cost.

Bally’s and Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort: Each of these casinos has a Diamond Lounge for Diamond and Seven Stars cardholders. Admission is $10 per person per visit.

There is no charge for Diamond cardholders who earned 25,000 tier credits in the previous or current calendar year, or for Seven Stars cardholders who can bring up to three guests. Seven Stars cardholders also get priority admission.

The Bally’s lounge is located on the sixth floor just past what was formerly Arturo’s. The lounge opens at 2 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Caesars Lounge is located on the second floor adjacent to the circular elevator and near the Circus Maximus Theater; the Harrah’s lounge is located just off the casino floor across from the Eden Lounge, between the AC Burger Co. and The Concert Venue box office.

Caesars and Harrah’s lounges open at 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Each of the lounges close at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 8 p.m. all other days. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.

The lounges serve a lighter lunch buffet until 4:45 p.m.; a carving station and additional entrées and side dishes are added at 5 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 1:45 p.m. Bally’s serves brunch.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa: The Amphora Lounge is located one floor below the casino in what once was the poker room. The entrance is on the casino floor adjacent to the Premier Nightclub. Admission is limited to Gold, Platinum and Noir cardholders and is $12.50 per person per visit. Noir cardholders get priority admission and should go directly to the check-in desk. The lounge opens at 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and closes at 10 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the lounge opens at 11 a.m., serving brunch until 2 p.m., and closes at midnight. At 5 p.m. everyday there is a carving station featuring prime rib.

Tropicana Atlantic City: As you enter from the self-park garage and The Quarter, just before you reach the Palm Walk, the Advantage Club is located to the left, adjacent to the Golden Dynasty. Print your admission slip at any kiosk. Admission is $5 per person per visit and is limited to one visit per day for Platinum and Black cardholders on Fridays through Sundasy. Gold cardholders may use the club Mondays through Thursdays. The lounge opens Mondays through Saturdays at noon (Sundays at 10 a.m.) and closes at 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Resorts Casino Hotel: Resorts has two lounges located next to each other, with an entrance around the corner from the cashier on the second level of the high limit slots area, Hollywood Hills. Entry to the Epic Club is limited to Epic, Paramount and Red Carpet cardholders; the Paramount Club is limited to Paramount and Red Carpet cardholders. For Paramount and Epic cardholders, admission is $12 per person, with “in and out” privileges on the same day. There is no charge for Red Carpet cardholders who can bring up to three guests and get priority admission. The Epic Club opens daily at 1 p.m. (noon on Fridays and Saturdays) and closes at 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The Paramount Club opens Fridays and Saturdays at noon, and closes at 1 a.m. Last admittance to both clubs is 30 minutes before the posted closing. The buffet at the Paramount Club is a little more upscale, however, Paramount cardholders are welcome to sample the buffets at both clubs.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City: The Chairman’s Club is located on the second floor near the Spa & Salon and next to Newport 2. Admission is limited to Chairman and Elite cardholders and is $10 per person per visit. There is no charge for Elite cardholders who can bring up to three guests. Elite cardholders also get priority admission. The lounge opens daily at noon and closes at 9 p.m. everyday but Fridays and Saturdays when it remains open until 11 p.m.

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com and he’ll try to respond to you personally.

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