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Beach Club Casino rebrands as Hampton Beach booms: What to expect

Max sullivan

HAMPTON — The newest owner of the Ocean Gaming charitable gaming room has revamped its first floor and rebranded the facility as the Beach Club Casino.

The building at 81 Ocean Blvd. was designed with red brick and a second-floor patio to give it a New Orleans French Quarter aesthetic, which Beach Club Casino owner Greg Carlin said he learned from his landlord Terry Daidone. When Carlin’s company, Granite State Gaming and Hospitality, took over Ocean Gaming last year, he asked Daidone if he could lighten up its appearance.

Now the brick is painted white, and between its two floors is the new name in black lettering. The sign, unveiled this week, is lit up with bright changing colors at night.

“I said, ‘We’re Hampton Beach,’” Carlin said. “What we really wanted to do was brighten it up and make it more inviting.”

Inside the building, the first level has undergone a 1,400-square-foot expansion that involved taking over the store space on the south side of the building. Dozens of new historical horse racing games have been added as a result, and more renovations are in the pipeline after the 2024 summer season to be ready for 2025.

The Beach Club Casino’s new name becomes official June 1, and Carlin’s team will hold a launch event May 30 to celebrate the newest renovations. A Chicago native with multiple gaming projects in New Hampshire, Carlin said he is excited to help improve the casino as well as Hampton Beach.

“When I first came to Hampton Beach, I fell in love,” Carlin said. “It’s exciting to come in and make the change.”

How Carlin found Ocean Gaming in NH

Carlin has worked for years in gaming, his previous company operating in his home city.

He said the legalization of historical horse racing in 2021 led to new opportunities for investors to come to the Granite State. Many operators of gaming facilities lacked the money and expertise to bring in historical horse racing.

“A lot of licenses have turned over,” Carlin said.

Carlin said he got a call from an investment banker about coming to New Hampshire sometime in mid-2022 when he visited facilities in Nashua and Salem as well as Hampton. He said Ocean Gaming, owned by Anthony Fusco at the time, impressed him partly because of the staff who gave the operation a welcoming feel.

“I was looking all over the state at different opportunities,” Carlin said. “This one really appealed to me.”

Changing Ocean Gaming into Beach Club Casino

To build out the first-floor gaming area, Carlin’s company took over the space on the southern side of the building where a T-shirt shop existed. They tore down the walls to make the first floor one large gaming room, adding 1,400 square feet of gaming floor. The room was redesigned and painted, and the first floor now has three new bar concepts.

The smoking room was also moved from a small area near the front of the building to a larger space in the back. Carlin said the room features a filtration room that ionizes the smoke to improve air quality.

“Your hair and clothes shouldn’t smell like smoke when you walk out of here,” Carlin said.

The expansion includes 50 more historical horse racing machines than last year, with new player membership benefits that will double their points. That growth is estimated to result in $2 million in charitable contributions to 73 local nonprofits, twice the amount generated last year.

Carlin eager to grow in NH as Hampton Beach is poised for big development

Carlin still lives in Chicago but is working exclusively on projects in New Hampshire right now, also launching operations in Rochester and Littleton. He said his casino coming to the Lilac Mall in Rochester is expected to be ready by January.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu in April signed a seven-year moratorium on new historical horse racing licenses in the state. It does not impact existing licenses. Carlin said that’s fine since he’s got plenty to work on in Hampton, Rochester and Littleton. The upstairs of the Beach Club Casino still needs to undergo renovations that will be completed after this summer season.

“Right now, we’ve got three projects, and for me, that’s a good amount,” Carlin said. “We’re pretty happy with that.”

As the Beach Club Casino starts its new life, the owners of the large Hampton Beach Casino property a few blocks north are looking to do a rebuild that could change the face of Hampton Beach. Sal Lupoli, who owns the Hampton Beach Casino, is looking to build a new Casino complex across two blocks that could include expanded gaming. The Casino already features the gaming room Aces & Eights.

Carlin said he and his team welcome the competition and any development that helps make Hampton Beach a better place to visit for gaming. He said more than one casino always gives people more of a reason to visit an area.

“Even if they become competition, they’re making the community better,” said Ginny Tzotzolas, vice president of marketing and operations for Beach Club Casino. “That benefits everyone, so that’s something we’re excited about.”