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Will Atlantic City's 'Historical Baggage' Hurt Its Future?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Atlantic City Casinos (Photo Courtesy of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority)

The July 4th holiday weekend is upon us, and for many, that means a long weekend spent at area beaches, from Long Island to the Jersey Shore. But one place people are increasingly not going is Atlantic City.

In the past two weeks, the city's largest casino, Revel, announced it would shut down if a buyer wasn't found by the end of the summer. Then Caesar's Entertainment announced it will close the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31.

In 2006, casinos generated record amounts of revenue for Atlantic City — nearly $500 million. Eight years later, they're not even generating half of that. Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney have pledged not to allow Atlantic City to turn into another Detroit.

But less than a year after that promise, the seaside resort increasingly finds itself in a fight to survive.

James Karmel is the founder of Gaming Atlantic, a casino gaming consultancy firm. He's also the author of Gambling on the American Dream: Atlantic City and the Casino Era. He said part of the problem is the city's "historic baggage" as an area centered around casinos for the past 35 years. Now it's struggling to diversify its economic base.

"Atlantic City developed a reputation as a not very family-friendly place, a kind of rundown city where all you wanted to do there was go to the casino," Karmel said. "I think it's going to take some time for Atlantic City to reinvent itself, reinvent its image to be more of a family-oriented place."

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione and Annmarie Fertoli

Editors:

Nancy Solomon

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Comments [1]

Steven Norton from Alton, IL

Idon't know where the $500 million came from, because the AC casinos generated $5.2 billion in win for the year 2006. Today that number is lwss than $3 billion, and includes free play, which did not exist in 2006, so the actual amount won by casinos is now down to less than half of its peak year.

Jul. 08 2014 01:59 PM

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