Atlantic City’s Gambling

Filled with gambling, drunkards, and prostitutes, Atlantic City isn’t known for its glamour in our current times. Even with attractions like the casinos, beaches, amusement parks, and the longest boardwalk in the world, the locals will know that the reputation of the city is not something to brag about compared to its surrounding towns and the other cities of New Jersey. Being born and raised in South Jersey, I grew up knowing the huge difference between the north and the south. Even with the biggest attraction in the south, North Jersey just has better cities, schools, and businesses. So how did Atlantic City get to where it is now?

Growing up, this city was a familiar place to me because both of my parents worked at the casinos. My parents immigrated from Vietnam and my dad took a job as a card dealer and my mom was a cocktail waitress. I often visited the city and walked along the boardwalk, rode the rides, ate funnel cake, and jumped the waves with my family or friends. But this was the side of the city that was for tourists.

As you can see in the picture above, the casinos stand tall and next to the beautiful ocean and ferris wheel.

But on the other side of the city are the not-so-glamorous houses and buildings. It’s an old city that was built off the ideals of modernism.

This is a piece of art from the modernism era which began the movement to accept more ideas that were seen as forbidden before. This fueled the popularization of gambling and alcohol in Atlantic City which began its widespread growth and construction.

The Atlantic City boardwalk (shown above) became a popular attraction since it was the first boardwalk built in America and continued to be the longest in the world. As more and more people came to the city as residents or tourists, it turned into a city of fun and distraction, bringing about the rise of casinos.

When the first casino was built in this city (shown above), it was a major hit and more casinos followed after it. Eventually, Atlantic City became one of the most popular for gambling since it was one of the only cities to have them on the east coast. At its peak, there were multiple booming casinos that towered over the boardwalk. But after its peak it began to decline.

As many other cities around the country began to build casinos and capitalize on the success of gambling, Atlantic City began to struggle. This is most known by when there was a new casino called the Revel that was built. It was the most expensive one that was built out of the others ones surrounding it and it was supposed to have a lot of potential because of all the money spent on it. But it performed very poorly and eventually it went bankrupt, meaning thousands of workers were out of a job and the money went to waste. This could’ve been caused by many things but one factor that certainly affected it was the growth of casinos in surrounding states, like Pennsylvania, that directed the attraction to other places. With casinos being Atlantic City’s primary source of income, a lot of the city began to fall apart and this most definitely affected tourism on the beaches and boardwalks too. 

This bankruptcy scare affected my family because my parents and some other family members worked at other casinos and if the decline continued, there were going to be a lot of people that would become financially unstable. Many people see the city as a ruthless business where the house always wins but there are a ton of workers and families that would be affected by its business too. At the same time, crime and prostitution was common in the city which did not help it to appear better for tourists. This city contrasts with the surrounding towns a lot too. Many of the towns nearby are small and friendly.

Where I’m from (pictured above), there’s a nice lake with a connecting river and a tight knit community. These towns look mundane compared to the skyscrapers of Atlantic City and its gambling and crime issues. 

But these issues are seeming to fade in place of a bigger and broader problem. In the past couple years, the casinos have been holding up with regular business following the making of a new casino called Ocean Resort. Using the Revel building, the casino was redesigned and rebranded for the better and is seemingly doing well. But with the sudden appearance of COVID-19, business shut down and the questions start rising again about whether or not Atlantic City will suffer in the long term from the pandemic’s effects.

After waiting through quarantine and once summer of 2020 came around, the casinos did reopen. But with little reassurance about the business’s stability, questions are still being raised about the future of Atlantic City and how it will recover from the pandemic. 

22 Replies to “Atlantic City’s Gambling”

  1. I thought this blog was a very interesting perspective on Atlantic City. I personally have never been to New Jersey but I have friends that live there, and from stories and pictures they’ve showed me I have only been exposed to the small town side of the state (similar to where you live). Hearing about the gambling businesses in New Jersey, I can see why many people are of put at first, but when you talked about how many people benefit, and how casino issues affected the surrounding towns, it changed my view on those types of businesses. I also thought that when you talked about your parents being immigrants and getting hired at a casino (and as a result being able to support you) it was really impactful. It no longer felt as if only strangers were being affected by casinos shutting down. Adding a personal element to your blog made it more persuasive and made me think more about the impact businesses have on individuals (whether they are small or large companies). Overall felt this blog was extremely well done and enjoyable to read.

  2. This blog not only brought a new perspective on New Jersey, but it also brought a new perspective on gambling. Personally, the only experience of New Jersey I ever had would be when family members would come down to Georgia, or whenever my friend who lived there in the past would bring up stories about the city. However, from this blog, it allowed me to see a more detailed insight on the city, that also has a personal touch because the author lived in the city. In terms of gambling, I was able see it more as a necessary evil than as something horrible. I would always here about people who would be addicted to gambling and how it would end up ruining their lives, but the author was able to see a positive in gambling. The author brought up how Casinos and gambling allowed more jobs to open up, which allowed people to provide for their families. The author further built upon the topic by discussing the impact that the closing of casinos had on not only people, but the entire community overall. Through this blog, I was able to learn more about the city, and enjoyed my time reading more about how gambling impacts the city.

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