Enter the iconic marble lobby through the grand glass doors and prepare yourself to meet the one and only lady luck. One pull of the long metal arm could change your fate (or lose you a whole dollar)! To this day, visitors to the Resorts Hotel and Casino can see the original 1978 debut slot machine covered and lovingly restored front and center in the casino’s main lobby. An icon of this casino’s grand beginnings, this majestic wooden piece of history stands proudly as the very first slot machine ever legally used in Atlantic City.


For decades, gambling was considered illegal in the state of New Jersey, not unlike many others. This famous vacation destination along with its history of sandy beaches, stretching boardwalk, and variety of beverages was also home to illegal gambling. Many officials during this time quietly allowed gambling in order to support the town financially and keep the travelers coming in. In 1931, however, Las Vegas legalized gambling, and after World War II, the tourists had dwindled in this quiet oceanfront town. In order to bring back revenue to the town, the 1976 voter referendum finally decided to allow gambling once again (legally this time) and the plans to open Resorts were made.

Related: Destination Atlantic City: Tour The Boardwalk Like A Local This Summer

Making History

On May 26, 1978, Resorts international (also known as Merv Griffins Resorts and Resorts Casino Atlantic City) was the first legalized casino to open its doors to the public on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This now 80,000-foot casino contains more than 70 table games and 1,500 slot machines that operate 24 hours a day to entertain tourists from all areas of the country. This location houses 942 guest rooms and suites, two large theaters, and ten restaurants as well as a conglomeration of spas, salons, bars, and retail shops. In Resort Hotels and Casino, you can spend the day on the beaches and boardwalks or come inside for a hot meal and great games. This modern-day casino sitting on a 21-acre boardwalk frontage has come very far from its beginnings as the first New Jersey Casino but continues to pay respect to its roots with its very first slot machine ever used, front and center, in the iconic lobby area.

Related: This Is Why Atlantic City Is New Jersey's Mini 'Las Vegas'

Back In Time

Although updated to meet modern needs, Resorts kept the renovated (but not replaced) roaring twenties décor throughout the hotel and casino areas. When traveling through the casino and hotel you will find mirrored ceilings, decorative three-dimensional columns, and jeweled-toned accents that are reminiscent of the roaring twenties. A proud tribute to the casino movement, this fully operational Bally Honey Money machine also helps set the tone for the classically styled décor, tube televisions, and marbled accents of the past.

This original fully electric 1975 Bally Honey Money Slot Machine was purchased for the new casino and featured the familiar style of the long metallic arm to set the wheels in motion. Although the arm was no longer needed for gameplay in the electric version, the company felt that the iconic styling needed to be kept because it would be “too strange” for visitors. Marked $1 to play, and showcasing game instructions with winning combinations along with the bottom panel, this new electric version illuminated the design with small accent lights and the tabletop design included a light-up fixture at the top to announce big winners. This was still a classic style, a single-line game with the iconic metal coin catch at the bottom for winning pots and sat inside a wooden case with the number one proudly displayed on the side.

Returning Home

Over 44 years after that first iconic run, this glorious machine has returned to its rightful place in the casino and continues to draw tourists and locals alike to try their luck and admire the historical significance of this historic fully-operational model. Although now kept safely in a glass case for protection, Resorts has been known to take the machine out on special occasions and for pre-scheduled media events as well.

Now surrounded by high rises and casinos galore, Resorts has held fast as Atlantic City’s first and longest-running hotel and casino. Whether guests come to shore for the sun and surf or the games and nightlife, this historical casino with its original 1975 slot machine is a must. Come take a trip back in time and get lost in the nostalgia of the roaring twenties as you cross the lobby and come face to face with Atlantic City’s original gambling machine. While you’re there, why not try your luck at the newest games and the card tables, or just come to enjoy a quick meal and a historical relic of the times and knock a few items off your bucket list too.

Related: 10 New Jersey Restaurants On The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail

Visit the Resorts Casino Hotel:

1133 Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ 08401



Want to see this iconic piece of history but can’t get to the shore? Check out this video of this original wooden masterpiece at work here.