Having family as I do in Atlantic City makes news like this difficult because the decreased revenue from the casinos has translated into higher and higher taxes. Still, with competition from Maryland and Pennsylvania, Atlantic City has failed to change.
That change is starting.
Atlantic City started the year with 12 casinos. By Labor Day, it could be down to nine.
For years, economists and analysts talked in theoretical terms about “casino saturation” in the northeastern United States. But there’s nothing theoretical about what’s happening in Atlantic City now.
The Atlantic Club is dead, taken down by two rivals. Revel says it will close if a buyer can’t be found, and Caesars Entertainment, which says there are too many casinos in New Jersey, plans to shutter one of its four, the Showboat, on Aug. 31.
Mayor Don Guardian, who could see a quarter of his city’s casinos close during his first year in office, said Atlantic City is in the midst of a difficult but necessary makeover from being a gambling resort to a multi-faceted destination where betting is only part of the allure.
“Although it is sad today, it’s part of the transition that Atlantic City needs to have,” he said Friday, hours after the Showboat shutdown was announced. “There is pain as we go through this transition, but it’s critical for Atlantic City to realize we are no longer the monopoly of gaming on the East Coast. If you build more and more casinos and don’t increase the amount of people coming to them, you’re sharing that wealth. We’re just going through a very difficult time.”
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