Hard Rock Atlantic City Awards $1 Million Prize in Summer Promotion

  • Customers earned entries for playing slots and table games
  • Entries had to be activated via play on September 1st
  • Prize announcement attendees believe winner knew before the big reveal
  • Qualified entrants disappointed that there was no live drawing
Nighttime view of giant guitar outside entrance of Hard Rock Atlantic City.
Hard Rock Atlantic City awarded $1 million to a Brooklyn woman after a drawing to end a summer-long promotion. [Image: Shutterstock]

Brooklyn woman won $1 million

As the old saying goes, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

That is not to say that Brooklyn’s Joanna T. is not good, but boy, did she get lucky Sunday night when her name was drawn as the winner of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City’s summer-long millionaire promotion.

More than 5,000 hopeful gamblers filled the Hard Rock’s Etess Arena this weekend, but it was only Joanna whose name was called by casino president Joe Lupo. With confetti raining down, Joanna went up on stage to accept the envelope which contained her name as the winner of $1 million.

Entries earned for summer gambling

Hard Rock Atlantic City launched the nameless promotion on June 28th. Players with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Wild Card Rewards cards earned entries for playing slots and table games. The promotion lasted through this past Saturday, August 31st.

One catch was that players still had to “activate” their amassed entries. This activation period was small – just a three-and-a-half-hour window from 2:00pm until 5:30pm on Sunday, September 1st. Activation was made by playing games again or by swiping rewards cards at Wild Card Rewards kiosks.

Hard Rock Atlantic City hyped the mysterious promotion with a video on its Facebook page. In the video, a man wearing a suit adorned with $100 bills sat astride a motorcycle, staring out at Atlantic City in the distance. At sunset, he took off down a dirt road toward the gambling town.

“I’ve been waiting a long time,” a voice-over dramatically announced. “A long time to come to Atlantic City and change – your – life. Who am I? They call me ‘The Money Man.’ And I’ve got one million dollars to give to you.”

The video provided little information aside from the drawing date and casino name.

Ceremony attendees not satisfied

Some commenters on Hard Rock Atlantic City’s Facebook page were a bit perturbed about how the drawing played out on Sunday.

commenters said she did not seem overly joyous

Several people who attended the ceremony at Etess Arena said that they saw Joanna come from backstage when her name was announced, an indication that she likely knew she was the winner ahead of time.

Other commenters said she did not seem overly joyous, another sign that she might have known ahead of time. Someone added that casino reps had previously announced that the drawing would be held live on stage.

One Facebook poster was upset that the Hard Rock told contestants that attendance at the ceremony was mandatory to win. This person said that about ten minutes before the winner reveal, a casino host greeted Joanna and led her to the stage area.

Joanna may have history of winning

In addition, it seems that Joanna has been a big winner at Hard Rock Atlantic City before. One commenter witnessed her winning a BMW drawing about a week ago.

Someone else said they frequently sit next to her at the slot machines, where Joanna plays two machines at a time. This same person said her husband saw Joanna hit “the grand bonus on the lightening [sic] cash” at Sala Miralto, the Borgata’s high-limit slot area.

All of that, plus the fact that the drawing time was set for just 30 minutes after the entry activation deadline, leads some people to think something fishy was going on. Others figure that Joanna simply had loads of entries and naturally had the best chances of winning.