Atlantic City Has Yet to Achieve Its Dream of Being the Las Vegas of the East Coast

Saving Atlantic City Casinos

When New Jersey decided to legalize gambling and allow casinos to open in Atlantic City, the popular thought was that casinos would do for this ocean city what they did for Las Vegas. Once a thriving vacation community with its famous Boardwalk and attractions like the Steel Pier, Atlantic City fell on economic hard times in the 60s and 70s. The locals who once flocked to the shore for their family vacation were now flying to other beach towns in more exotic locations, like Florida. Planners hope that the combination of the ocean and Boardwalk casinos would return Atlantic City to the top of vacation destinations.

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Atlantic City did see an economic boom, but it wasn’t what they expected. Unlike Las Vegas, where people visit for a few days or a week, Atlantic City is a day trip destination. More people come to Atlantic City to gamble than any other place in the country, but they come on bus trips, where they arrive early in the morning and leave in the evening. Many of these day trippers never leave the casino floor. The day tripping business, while good for the gambling side of Atlantic City, did little for the hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other entities hoping to cash in. Even the casinos found themselves in economic trouble.

Reviving the Town

Atlantic City found itself in the same situation it was in three decades earlier, so city and state leaders have become aggressive. They’ve decided the best way to revitalize the Boardwalk and the casinos is to improve what the Boardwalk and casinos have to offer. With a $3 billion initiative, Atlantic City is encouraging more casino construction. The Boardwalk itself will be refurbished. Casino corporations are partnering with the community to add 2000 more hotel rooms and improved casino accommodations. Once again, the idea is to turn Atlantic City into a shore-front Las Vegas. This time, they realize that takes more than opening a few casinos. The new projects will create casino resorts, with shopping malls, more entertainment, and spas.