Atlantic City… the name brings to mind images of glistening casinos, bright light and never ending excitement. A few years ago, that image would have been true. Today, however, is another day. Fortunes have changed and the gaming machines stand silent, and one casino, Harrah’s, is offering to send their frequent gamblers out west to Las Vegas. One gambling executive even says that Atlantic City is in a “death spiral”.
Billboards offering free buffets and Mondays and Wednesdays and games with jackpots of $150,000 don’t seem to be working very well. Of the eleven casinos in town, three are under bankruptcy protection and the Tropicana was sold in bankruptcy court. And the lender for Resorts International, the first casino outside of Las Vegas to offer legal gambling in 1978, is in negotiations to take the casino over.
The economic crisis is taking its toll even on the gambling industry. Where people use to get on buses or planes and travel to Atlantic City to gamble on vacation, they can now do it closer to home as more and more states legalize gambling in one form or another. Casinos on Indian reservations are also taking their toll on the revenues of Atlantic City. Tight money can only go so far.
Plans to reinvigorate the industry in Atlantic City are taking many shapes. Some are looking to building bigger and better casino to draw in the curious and new gamblers. Others think altering the states regulations for different layouts for hotels and casinos will help. Still others are thinking along the lines of super sizing the industry as in theme park huge. Where is it all going to end??
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