A look back at Atlantic City’s most storied casinos


When you think Atlantic City, you think names like Borgata (which is doing well) and Revel (which just went bankrupt). You think about Resorts (also doing great) and Trump (currently in Revel territory).

But before Borgata and Revel, there were other storied casinos that dotted the Boardwalk and beyond providing visitors with the best of the gambling entertainment. Today, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at a piece of land that now sits empty but that was once occupied by three different casinos.

Playboy Casino

Yup, that Playboy. The magazine that kids used to keep back under their mattress so their parents wouldn’t find it evolved into an Atlantic City casino. The doors opened on April 14th , 1981 and when you stepped through the doors you were greeted by cocktail bunnies. Unfortunately, their license was only temporary and the Casino Control Commission decided not to issue them a permanent one, questioning their suitability. Considering The Trump Taj Mahal has a Scores Atlantic City strip club where the girls on stage get arguably more naked than any cocktail bunny, we’re thinking the Playboy Casino would do just fine today.

Atlantis Casino

When Playboy Casino closed its doors, the company that owned it removed the bunny ears from the sign and replaced it with a seashell, renaming it Atlantis. It didn’t do that well and ultimately filed for bankruptcy just one year after opening. It was the first casino to go out of business in Atlantic City and many casinos have risen since, so those who are upset about Atlantic City’s four casino closings have good reason to be hopeful.

Trump’s World Fair

When Atlantis closed, Donald Trump bought the property and slapped a Trump Regency sign on the outside. He built it as a non-casino hotel, catering to those who were interested in vacationing in the season resort without being surrounded it by gambling. To be honest, he was forced to do so. By law, he couldn’t operate more than three casinos. But when regulations changed, he reopened the property as Trump’s World Fair at Trump Plaza. Fast-forward three years and the casino was demolished after failing to turn a profit.

And as a special treat for treat for everyone, here’s a TV commercial from the era (and by “era” we mean 1983), about the “New Playboy Casino”, hope you enjoy it:

As you can see, casinos come and go. So while we’re down to about eight Atlantic City casino properties today, the landscape 10 years now could be very different – and even more interesting than it is today.

Colin Jones

Colin Jones is a born and raised Chicago writer specialized on topics related to the casino and gambling industry. Having years of experience on the field, Colin will keep you in touch with the latest news and advances on the casino industry.


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