If you’ve been to Atlantic City recently –or in the past for that matter—you know that the East Coast gambling capital is nothing like Las Vegas. Atlantic City doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas; not even close. The casinos in Atlantic City are for raw gambling, not for being seen or for their nightlife. Still, gambling is big business and it’s hard to understand why Atlantic Casinos are in such rough shape, but they have virtually always been this way, and now with a weak economy the problems are simply magnified.
The new hope is that the revenue from online gaming in the state can be pumped back into Atlantic City and revitalize the famed Boardwalk. The problem is I just don’t see it happening. I see online gaming becoming big business in the Garden State, but I have a hard time seeing these new revenue streams reinvested in a Brick & Mortar casino industry that has struggled since its inception. Realistically, it will be tough for online gaming to save Atlantic City.
Even before competition opened-up shop in Connecticut –which has now spread to several nearby states—Atlantic City was never the East Coast gaming Mecca it was intended to be. Most of the fame in the 1980’s came from events in Atlantic City casinos, and not simply from the casinos themselves. Hotels and casinos in Atlantic City fail at a disturbingly high rate, and the proposed casinos that never get off the ground are even more troubling. Think of it this way; there are currently empty lots on the Boardwalk! Could you imagine how long an empty lot would remain vacant on the Strip in Las Vegas… about 10 minutes would be a good guess.
So what precisely is online gaming supposed to do to reverse a trend that has remained constant since 1976? Aside from a few boom periods, Atlantic City has never been anything close to a rival for Las Vegas. In fact, if you were to visit the two cities on back-to-back weeks it would be like going to the finest Italian eatery in Italy and then going to the Olive Garden and trying to compare the two.
The one saving grace for Atlantic City could be the proposed deal that would see PokerStars takeover one of the struggling AC casinos, the Atlantic Club. A new player in the market could be just what Brick & Mortar casinos in Atlantic City need to up their game; no more failed Donald Trump projects and business as usual, but a 21st century gaming company that is innovative and knows how to spend money wisely.
So no, I don’t see online gaming saving Atlantic City, I see the city struggling mightily for years to come unless the gaming industry gets their act together and brings their resort casinos into the 21st century: No more living off the Mike Tyson fights from the 1980’s, it’s time for AC to reinvent itself, and maybe PokerStars can help them do just that? Check out the latest poker news for around the globe in our Titan Poker News section.
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