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Gambling in Atlantic City

Though serving as a resort city since the late 1800’s, it was not until the mid twentieth century that Atlantic City became a casino hotspot. Until then, the coastal town relied on its great proximity to Philadelphia and the rest of the large east-coast cities to draw their tourists to its hotels during summers and holidays. Then, in the aftermath of the Second World War, Atlantic City experienced its most serious downfall. Families started heading further south to places like Miami and the Bahamas for their vacations, and AC’s hotels started suffering from alarming vacancy rates.

Then in 1976 came the turnaround that the city was waiting for: The state of New Jersey voted to legalize casino gambling in the city and quickly after that, the Resorts International opened its doors as the first legal casino on the eastern shores of the United States. Las Vegas now had some competition on the east.

This has long been another mecca of sorts for gamblers which, although is not as large or as much of a cultural phenomenon at Vegas, is a location that is regularly attended by thousands of gamblers every year since the location as a gambling hot-spot was conceived over 40 years ago.

Why Atlantic City?

Needless to say, countless hotel and casino resorts sprung up into the Atlantic City skies over the years. Coupled with prime-time boxing competitions, and a fantastic beach boardwalk, Atlantic City revived its status as a prime vacation resort and was often times even favored over Las Vegas. Real-estate mogul Donald Trump came in and made Atlantic city his own playground when building much of the city’s downtown gambling areas.

Atlantic city boasts some fabulous hotels – luxury, style and design merge together in some of the best hotels you can ever stay in. Many Las Vegas style shows also frequented the stages of Atlantic City’s casino, such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. , and Cher who starred on the Sands Atlantic City. The Sands kept its Vegas style all the way till the end with a grandiose implosion. Check out this video and turn on your speakers, the soundtrack is awesome:

The city’s hotels and casinos spill out onto the city’s boardwalk- which is the oldest in the United States! It stretches over four miles along the New Jersey coastal line, but the boardwalk used to be even longer- stretching seven miles in length until a severe 1944 hurricane hit the city and damaged much of its property including the city’s prized boardwalk. Besides the hotels, the boardwalk also leads to the city’s amusement park, a museum, restaurants and other fine dinning, not to mention seasonal cultural events.

The City’s casinos

Though the city’s casinos specialize in table games,slots, roulette and craps can be found as well in every casino you step into. The casinos are generally not too far from the boardwalk and offer nightly entertainment much in the style of their Las Vegas counterparts.

Besides gambling and dining along its marvelous coast, the city also offers three of the largest shopping malls in the eastern United States. The Atlantic City aquarium, it should be mentioned, is one of the most respected homes to ocean wildlife in the country. There is always something out of the ordinary happening in and around Atlantic City, such as the filming of various popular television shows and/or movies.

Since its inception as an action-packed city, Atlantic City has played host to not only occasional events, but also has been the home for much of the twentieth century to the infamous Miss America Pageant. And how many people are left in the world who can honestly claim that they haven’t at least once played the game Monopoly. Well folks, that lovable family past-time was inspired and mimicked after the streets and alleys of Atlantic City.

Open Atlantic City Casinos

Borgata

Now in its 15th year of existence, opening back in 2003, Borgata is thriving as well as it ever has done on the Atlantic City strip. According to figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the body who controls gambling within the state it has been the highest performing casino of any in the city for years. Recent times have been no different and in total, they clocked a revenue of $769 million in 2017, an increase of 3% from the year prior.

While it was previously run as a partnership between MGM and Boyd Gaming, it has been run solely by the former for the last 3 years.  Borgata’s 161,000-square-foot casino offers between 3-4 thousand slot machines and more than 200 table games, as well as a premier poker room. There is also a 2,000-room hotel on site.

Harrah’s

Harrah’s is more than 20 years Borgata’s senior but is still managing to keep up with the time as well as its younger competitor via series of new expansions. Most recently, in 2008 when the Waterfront Tower was constructed, complete with a new pool and spa. Perhaps thanks to this, in 2017 they clocked in as the city’s second-best performing casino, with the flagship Harrah brand generating an impressive a $358 million total revenue.

Although, this was less than half the revenue of Borgata, and this figure was down by 4.3% from the year prior it is still an impressive feat from the casino. Slightly off the beaten track of the boardwalk, the casino itself offers 177,000 square feet of gaming space, where you ca find more than 5,500 slots and video poker game, as well as 140 table games and a 40-table poker room.

Tropicana

Opening one year after Harrah’s Tropicana it too has survived the test of time, and unlike some of the other older casinos on this list, it, in fact, saw an increase in revenue of a whopping 9%. This saw a total generated amount of $341 million in revenue in 2017 and made it lands in the top 3 highest-grossing casinos.

Its expansion has been steady over the last 40 years, and most recently it acquired the neighbouring 330-room boutique hotel, The Chelsea, which saw their landmass grow even larger. This will be added to the 2,400 hotel rooms on the property already, as well as the three floors of gaming where there are more 3,000 slot machines and 135 table games are available for gamblers to use.

Caesars Atlantic City

Another veteran casino in Atlantic City is Ceasers, which pre-dates Harrah’s by one year, opening in 1979. The site took $302 million in revenue in 2017, which like its similar-aged casino saw a drop from the year prior, this time of 2.7%. To keep up with the times, Caesers has also seen a series of changes, with more floors and hotels added over time. Today, there are 1,100 rooms and 145,000 square feet of gaming space, where you will find 3,000 slot machines and 135 table games.

Golden Nugget

Another big grower revenue-wise was the Golden Nugget, who like the Tropicana saw an increase of 9% from in 2017 which totalled $251 million, making it the 5th highest growing casino in the city. Formally part of the Trump Casino repertoire it has been known as the Golden Nugget since 2011. Following this rebrand and a $150 million renovate, the Golden Nugget, as the figures show, has been going strong since then. Today, you will find 75,000 square feet of gaming space and 728 hotel rooms.

Bally’s

Although opening during the same era as Caesars and Harrah’s, and being part of Caesars Entertainment, it has not quite kept up with its brand-mates and ranks only 6th in revenue. However, they still acquired an impressive $210 million in 2017 which saw a slight growth of 0.1% from the year prior, making it the only casino from the firm to have seen an improvement from the year prior. There are two casinos on-site at Bally’s, which combined offers 220,000 square feet of gaming space and over 5,000 slot machines.

Resorts

The lowest-ranked in revenue on our list is also the oldest, Resorts, which was the very first casino in Atlantic City, opening its doors in 1978. It has not fared quite as well as its fellow seasoned casino and in 2017 it made a revenue of just $173 million, but this was still an improvement of 6.7% from the year prior.  However, in terms of the bigger picture, they only casino to earn less than this year closed in that year. This said, it is still going strong to the day. It’s more recent renovation saw it be turned into a roaring twenties themed casino, where players can enjoy 80,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,500 slot machines and 70 table games.

Alongside these, there are two new additions to the landscape, The Hard Rock Atlantic City  and The Ocean Casino resort, both of which opened in 2017. Let’s see if these can last the test of time and make a splash in Atlantic City.

So what does Las Vegas have that Atlantic City lacks? Well, for starts- a long flight from home. Atlantic City provides a similar element of fun and excitement as the city of lights with a much shorter commute from your home. Its proximity to New York makes it even more attractive to tourist from around the world. But again, each one of the two retains its own uniqueness and there is nothing like some good healthy competition keep our beloved casino towns working hard to insure that our next visit will be all the more enjoyable.

Gambling laws in NJ

If you are interested in finding out more about gambling in New Jersey, visit this page.

May 31, 2012 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.