ATLANTIC CITY IS DOOMED — But It's Still A Fun Place To Visit!

Atlantic City Boardwalk Entrance

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

These are hard times for Atlantic City, which recently recorded its sixth consecutive year of falling gambling revenues and saw an ambitious new casino prepare for bankruptcy.You can blame the economic downturn as well as the rise of competing casinos in neighbouring states.

Hurricane Sandy didn’t help either. The casinos were ordered to remain closed for almost five full days, and lost an estimated $5 million in gambling revenue combined each day.

But you know what? The “World’s Playground” is still an awesome place to visit, with plenty of exciting new attractions aimed at targeting leisure travellers instead of gamblers, and revitalizing its boardwalk. Atlantic City is also getting buzz from HBO’s hit show, Boardwalk Empire.

Atlantic City is huge, but most people only think about the boardwalk and pier.

It reached its boom period in the 1920s thanks to prohibition and illegal gambling — it even called itself the World's Playground.

Source: HBO

AC didn't see a popularity resurgence again until the 1970s when New Jersey made gambling legal to help the city.

Today, Atlantic City is still best known for its casinos and boardwalk, but it faces a lot of competition from neighbouring states, especially Pennsylvania.

Source: Economist

Now, AC is trying to market itself more as a luxury destination for travellers and a place for young people to party.

It's super easy to get there — you can take a bus from New York's Port Authority station down to AC for $40 roundtrip, or book a train from Philadelphia or New Jersey.

Attractions include the Trump Taj Mahal, home to the Casbah Nightclub and the Hard Rock Cafe.

Source: Trump Taj Mahal

We'll admit it looks a little grim on the inside — which may be why the owner is open to selling the property.

Source: AP

The Tropicana Resort and Casino has some of the best food on the boardwalk with restaurants FIN and Il Verdi.

Source: AP

It's also no longer in bankruptcy court after being bought by billionaire Carl Icahn for $200 million.

Source: AP

Revel opened last year as an entertainment destination with a spa, two nightclubs, and a killer burlesque club. It even has a stretch of beach named after it.

Source: Revel

Despite $1.5 billion in debt and plans to go into bankruptcy, the casino will remain open by giving creditors a greater equity stake in the casino and reducing their debt.

Trump Plaza has become a staple on the boardwalk ever since it opened in 1984 because of its huge casino floor.

Source: AP

However, it was recently sold for the low, low price of $20 million to the Meruelo Group (the cheapest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City).

Source: AP

And it's not all bad news for the city — The POOL at Harrah's Resort is the 11th highest grossing nightclub in America!

Source: Eater

The hotel pool, which turns into a club at night, rakes in $25-$35 million in profits each year.

Source: Eater

If you're into the tourist scene, Atlantic City Absecon Lighthouse was first lit in 1857 and only costs $7 to climb.

To drum up more tourism and help supplement Sandy relief efforts, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is going to build a park around the lighthouse.

Golden Nugget — originally the Trump Marina — has been enlivened with eight restaurants, a spa, and two huge venues for live entertainment.

Source: Golden Nugget

Chef Vola's is a cult-favourite in Atlantic City since 1921 for its fresh Italian food.

Source: Eater

For those who prefer shopping to gambling, AC's downtown area is home to a sprawling outdoor outlet mall, with stores like J. Crew, Coach, and Brooks Brothers.

Borgata Hotel is known as the Bellagio of the East Coast, and is still one of its top grossing casino/hotels.

As of this month, The Borgata allows lazy guests to gamble up to $2,500 in cash over hotel room TVs. How fun is that?

After getting hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, Steel Pier will be re-opening with the help of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

The city is continuing to work on plans to make the 100-year-old pier a year-round water park attraction.

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City lost the Miss America Pageant in 2005 to Las Vegas after labour costs ran too high.

But the pretty girls and tiaras will be returning to the boardwalk this year, bringing a much-needed influx in revenue and media attention to the area.

Now let's break down why AC's Revel is struggling.

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