The tiny State of New Jersey is known for many things, but one its most significant is its crown jewel Atlantic City. Atlantic City is fondly recognized as the “Gambling Capital of the East Coast.” In 2013 alone, Atlantic City casinos earned billions of dollars in revues, provided residents with thousands of jobs, and stood strong as one of the most significant gambling destinations in the United States. However, even the greatest are prone to falling. While Atlantic City is heralded as a casino mecca, its title as the Gambling Capital of the East Coast may soon become displaced because of its overabundance of casinos.
Atlantic City Glory Days
Before Atlantic City there was no city. What began as a resort style town in the late 1800’s and throughout the 1920’s ended with the advent and closure of World War II. To revitalize the city in the 1970’s, a referendum in New Jersey was passed that officially legalized casinos in New Jersey. As the first casinos legalized outside of the State of Nevada, Atlantic City became a haven for individuals on the East Coast and Midwest of the United States.
However, facing strong competition from Vegas wasn’t easy. Atlantic City always found struggle in its casino venture, and fortunately its endeavors were boosted in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s by Donald Trump and Mike Tyson. With boxing as another source of attractions in Atlantic City, tourism allowed the city to thrive and make its official mark as one of the best gambling cities in the United States. Atlantic City boasted some of the most hospitable hotels, the grandest casinos, major names in restaurants and celebrities, and an ongoing interest into making the experience of its tourists one of the best in the country. However, like all things, even the best see an end.
The Peak and Steady Decline
Atlantic City’s best year was 2006, a year that it hasn’t been able to match as of yet. The year hosted a total of 39,000 slot machines, billions of dollars in revenues, and a booming tourist scene. However, the end of 2006 also saw more than a rise in Atlantic City’s casino slots, it saw neighboring states add 36,000 of their own slot machines in their state casinos. This event is what lead to the current disaster that the gambling mecca Atlantic City is facing today.
The casino industry is a vibrant one. With online gambling opportunities, mobile gambling opportunities, the attraction of Vegas, and state Casinos become legalized more and more often, it is clear that Atlantic City hardly stands a chance. This year, some of the strongest performing casinos in Atlantic City decided to officially close their doors. Atlantic Club, Donald Trump’s Revel, and many other large casinos in Atlantic City have already faced closure or are seriously considering it. This would mean that out of the 12 casinos that Atlantic City started out with this year can turn into a dwindling 8. It’s bad for business, it’s bad for the city, and it is especially bad for those that are dependent upon the city’s gambling and hotel business for their livelihood.
The Job Gamble
While many anti-gamblers would hate to admit it, gambling has a tremendous impact upon the economy and jobs. It not only brings billions of dollars in revenues to cities through taxes and help cities to flourish, but it also leads to thousands of jobs that people depend upon for their livelihood. The closure of Atlantic City is causing another severe gamble, and that is the gamble that people are experiencing through their jobs.
Half of Atlantic City is dependent upon the city’s casino industry for work. As the current situation stands, over 7,000 employees of Atlantic City’s casinos and resorts are currently out of work or on their way to being out of work very soon. This has led to a severe increase in the city’s jobless rate, which now stands at a whopping 14%. This figure is astronomical compared to the country’s jobless rate which is hovering around 7%.
The closing of Atlantic City’s casinos and resorts has created another phenomenon, and that is the addition of more casinos elsewhere. For example, Bally’s Casino is transferring its business to Pennsylvania and Maryland, while MGM resorts is currently planning a nearly $1 billion casino resort in Washington State. While one of the country’s most coveted casino havens is closing, more casinos are opening their doors elsewhere.
The Nail on the Coffin
It is no surprise that Atlantic City is dying. With casinos being built elsewhere, competition has become fierce. No longer do residents of other states find it necessary to travel half way across the country to try their luck at a slot machine in Atlantic City. Yet, there may also be another culprit to the death of Atlantic City, and that is technology. Over the years, online gambling has not only made gabling highly accessible through connection to the internet, but it has directly streamlined the experience to the player nearly anywhere they are in the world. Such advantages have led to one of the greatest gambling revenue leads, which is online gambling. Currently, online gambling platforms account for billions of dollars in earnings, which is fantastic for the companies that own them, but not anyone else.
While Atlantic City’s and other state gambling location’s revenues would partially go to state taxes and lead to the creation or resorts and tourist attractions, online gambling revenues mainly go to the creators of the platforms. So, not only is Atlantic City dying, but the industry of a whole is taking a significant hit from technological advances that have evolved the world of gambling.