Atlantic City: The Beginning of a Comeback?

Atlantic City: beginnings of a comeback?

No, this is not about Donald Trump.

Atlantic City casinos hit jackpot with 22.5% jump in profits last year
April 9

Hard Rock ready to roll in Atlantic City with huge music lineup, opening date. - Apr 18

In 1976 a lot of oceanside town’s in South Jersey were popular beach resorts for Northeasterners. But heavily populated Atlantic City gad a tourism industry, that while significant, was small compared to its large area population, and the area languished economically.

In a bold, VERY successful move, the city legalized gambling, ‘Indian Casinos’ did not exist anywhere and there was no competition.

Twelve Casinos were built, and while it is often pointed out the educated/uneducated income divide did not disappear, the area, awash in tourist and gambling dollars, boomed for 2-3 decades.

Since then, New England opened SEVEN Casinos including Mohegan Sun Foxwoods, each drawing a HUGE portion of NYC area gamblers, and Boston’s Wynn Twin River Casino, 2007.

NY State has opened 24 casinos, including several close to NYC. The Niagara falls are has casinos on both sides of the border.

Pennsylvania opened 12 including 2 in Philadelphia and another so close to Philadelphia, many visitors think they are in the city.

Since 2014, five of the cities 12 casinos closed (that’s nearly half). As if the competition had not been brutal enough, Atlantic City ALSO suddenly had a Has-Been-Ghetto-Ghost Town image to shake.

The city government was unwilling or unable to downsize by 5/12 in 3-4 years and the State of NJ took over.

Anyway, as the articles above may indicate, Atlantic City seems to have reached some sort of bottom.

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I’m glad this thread got carried over.

It was the state that legalized casino gambling and restricted it to Atlantic City. Lately, there has been a move to allow casinos in North Jersey, but that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Atlantic City’s core mistake was putting the casinos on the Boardwalk, and one mistake after another followed. While revenue was up, the number of casinos is down, so the total revenue is not all that much more, it’s just that it’s concentrated into a smaller area, giving everyone a bigger slice of pie.

Now, AC is faced not only with competing casinos but with online gambling. That’s not any different than any other service or retailer being replaced with an online competitor - the only attraction that online can’t really compete with are live events, so I think Hard Rock is on the right track. But the city does have to clean itself up.

Why was that a mistake?

If you look at the layout and configuration of AC, the Boardwalk is adjacent to beaches, Boardwalk merchants and entertainment piers. Casinos that are successful generally don’t build in areas where there is competing recreation (exclusive of other casinos, which can’t be avoided) - once the novelty of a new AC casino wore away, the most successful ones were the ones on the “bay” - primarily Borgata - because they were well run, but also not giving the visitor the opportunity to think “Maybe I’ll go to the beach, maybe we’ll go to Steel Pier”. It’s always difficult to plan when there’s existing infrastructure, but it might have been better to look to the Fairmount/Baltic or even down Maryland for the casino row. Just MHO.