We all know what’s happening in Atlantic City. The city is at a crossroads. Once second-in-command to Las Vegas’s reign as top gambling state, the title has been stolen by Pennsylvania, which now generates the second-most gambling revenue in the United States.
New Jersey could drop from third place soon now that some Atlantic City landmarks are closing their doors (many of them have actually closed as of publication). They include Revel Casino, Showboat, The Atlantic Club, and Trump Plaza.
Why has Atlantic City fallen from grace? Well, within the last decade, 40 commercial casinos have been constructed in eight states that have legalized gambling. They include neighboring New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
In a nutshell, increased competition in to blame for Atlantic City’s troubles. But there is something that could save New Jersey’s casino problem: More casinos.
You probably think I’m crazy. When I first proposed the idea in my head, I thought I was out to lunch too. But the more I researched it, the more it made sense. Right now, the New Jersey State government only allows casinos in Atlantic City. No other city is zoned for casinos so they just can’t be constructed.
What if the government allowed casinos to open outside Atlantic City? And what if the stipulation was that a portion of the gambling tax revenue collected went to revitalize Atlantic City?
It’s a win-win situation. Casino operators wouldn’t say no because the alternative is that they just don’t get to open a casino outside Atlantic City. With more tax revenue coming in, Atlantic City could benefit from a huge fund to revitalize the area, boost tourism, and make Atlantic City the excellent destination it once was.
This prospect could cause existing Atlantic City to rethink their exit strategy. If additional casinos are contemplating closing up shop, they might realize that a smarter strategy would be to build a new casino elsewhere and sit back as the area returns to its former glory.
If you think this idea isn’t the right approach, I’ve got another one. What if Atlantic City stopped focusing on casinos entirely? What if, instead, the existing casinos spent money buying up less-than-sketchy areas and constructing family-friendly attractions?
Sound strange? The two can coexist. Just take Niagara Falls, Canada, as an example. Clifton Hill is famous for its family attractions and just around the corner is a casino (Fallsview Casino is a few miles down the road, but still well within the vicinity).
Las Vegas once tried to reinvent itself as a family destination to grow their business. That didn’t work, but mostly because of their reputation for being Sin City. Atlantic City has seen four casinos close, so there really isn’t much of a reputation left to worry about.
What do you think is the best option for Atlantic City? Got an idea of your own? Speak up with a comment or follow Slots of Vegas on Facebook and let your voice be heard.