Atlantic City, a city of roughly 40,000 people, located right on the shores of southeastern New Jersey, has been experiencing a cycle of ups and downs in the economy for decades. It was in the late 1970s that the economy was struggling so hard, city officials had to come up with a plan to bring the once-popular resort town’s spark back.
As a result, gambling was legalized. Shortly thereafter, Atlantic City had its head above water again. The city was booming. People were traveling hundreds of miles to visit “the Las Vegas of the East” and join this hip, new gambling scene. Atlantic City was on the up and up, and it was all because of America’s love for the thrill of gambling.
However, this revival was short-lived.
Fast forward to 2014 and the Atlantic City landscape has entered yet another downward spiral. Casinos were closing left and right. In fact, nearly one-third of all of the city’s existing boardwalk casinos were closed. And with casino closures came a skyrocket in unemployment, as well as huge loss in gross revenue. In a city that was built around gambling, no gambling meant no income.
Don Guardian, the Atlantic City mayor at the time, stated to the press that he regretted allowing the city to become so dependent on one industry. “We put all of our eggs in one basket, and you should never put all your eggs in one basket.”
After a couple of years in decline, mainly due to gambling and sports gambling near Freehold, NJ being outsourced to various casinos and online, Atlantic City is approaching yet another boom. What was once decaying properties, boarded up sea shops, and vacant high-rises, is in the works of rebranding itself as “the entertainment capital of the east.” And it all begins with the opening of two new casinos and hotel chains: The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Ocean Resort Casino. It’s been six years since the city attempted to open a new casino, and now they opened not one, but two casinos on the same exact day.
Both casinos are opening up inside of two former casinos: Ocean Resort inside of the old Revel and Hard Rock inside of the previous Trump Taj Mahal. All in all, the two new casinos promise to bring vast amounts of entertainment options, thousands of employment opportunities, as well as many gambling and non-gambling activities for all.
While the revival of any American city is never something to be frowned upon, will Atlantic City’s comeback, along with its legalized sports gambling near Monmouth, NJ and shiny new casinos, help the economy or lead to more gambling disorders? Only time will tell.