Atlantic City has been a synonym of gambling, partying and all around entertainment for many decades. In fact, besides Vegas, it has remained one of the top destinations for those tourists that love to gamble with a view of the shore! Sadly, it seems that might soon change! The gambling industry in Atlantic City has decreased dramatically and more and more casinos and hotels are closing their doors and leaving this former rambunctious town in a desperate silence.
Big casinos like Showboat and the Trump Plaza have already announced that they will leave the city in September and more establishments are on the way out. In fact, the last Casino and hotel to closed its doors is the newly build Revel casino, who is going out of business next September also. That would make Revel the fourth casino to say goodbye to Atlantic City in the year, only 8 casinos are left struggling to remain open.
The fact that is particularly Revel the casino that is closing its doors also proves to be quite disheartening. Why? Because the governor of Atlantic City, the polemic Chris Christie, actually invested $260 million from the state’s money in exchange for 20% of the revenues, hoping that this new project would revitalize the city. So not only is the city losing money in tourism, but also is investing in projects that are not paying off. And, with three casinos closing, a fourth of the casino working population of Atlantic City is going to be out if a job in a month. This fact will heavily contribute to the city’s dire unemployment index of 13%.
So why are so many casinos closing? According to Mayor Don Guardian of Atlantic City, “[i]t comes down to saturation. How many more casinos do you think you can build in the mid-Atlantic states?” The over saturation of casinos has made Atlantic City not a priority anymore when it comes to gambling destinations, people have more choices apart from A.C. and Las Vegas. Paradoxically, this threat is reinforced not only with establishments outside New Jersey, but with new establishments that compete with A.C. from within the same state.
For example, billionaire Paul Fireman, of Fireman Capital Partners, has issue a proposal to construct a 95-story tower in Jersey City. Fireman is planning to make a casino the tower’s main attraction and has boldly stated that it could become the highest-grossing casino in the United States. Luckily, this new tower will create 25,000 jobs but it would be naïve to think that they will all be occupied by the unemployed force of A.C. Another project that is looking for the green light is Jeff Gural’s idea to open a casino in Meadowlands racetrack, which he runs. Gural is a mayor real estate executive from New Jersey and he also runs the racinos Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in the Big Apple.
But let’s not lose heart just yet. Guardian delivered an emotional speech where he reminded the worried citizens that, if that last 160 years prove something, it is the boardwalk city’s ability to reinvent itself. He stated: “Atlantic City is resilient; it’s gone from a health resort to the world’s playground with liquor during Prohibition, to a convention city and then a gambling monopoly, at least on the East Coast.” “It’s time,” he closed, “to open another chapter.” I agree with the Major. The city needs to diversify and stop putting all its eggs on the gambling basket! Hopefully, that resilience will help the city get back on its feet to continue to be a top gambling and entertainment destination in the country!