It’s a roll of the dice if Atlantic City will soon recover from its current economic slump.
Earlier this month, the Seattle Times reported that in “the mid-1990s, nearly 50,000 people worked in casinos in Atlantic City. That was down to 33,000 by 2011. And now, with four of the city’s 11 casinos closing or in bankruptcy, tourism is down, boardwalk business has slumped, and few observers see much hope in Atlantic City’s future.”
Now comes word that Atlantic City is losing two casinos, losing 5,000 jobs in three days. The Showboat shuttered Sunday, followed by Revel. Trump Plaza closes September 16.
Not all the casinos are closing because they are failing. “What makes it even tougher to swallow is that the Showboat — one of four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment — is still turning a profit. But the company says it is closing Showboat to help reduce the total number of casinos in Atlantic City,” reports Boston.com. Caesars partnered with Tropicana Entertainment to purchase the Atlantic Club last December and closed it in January.
It seems a reduction in casinos is just what the city needs to survive, say experts. Since 2006, Atlantic City’s casino revenue has dropped drastically from $5.2 billion to $2.86 billion in 2013. It is expected to drop even more this year. Atlantic City started 2014 with 12 casinos; it will now have just eight by the end of this month. Fewer casinos might result in higher revenue for the remaining casinos.
Look at the turnaround that happened for Resorts Casino Hotel when it faced less competition. The casino was on the verge of closing a few years ago but in the second quarter of this year it went from a $1.3 million loss in 2013 to a $1.9 million profit this year.
Still, while the casinos may recover people are still out of work. “By the time Trump Plaza shuts down in two weeks, nearly 8,000 jobs — or a quarter of Atlantic City’s casino workforce — will be unemployed,” reports Boston.com.
‘‘This is going to be a difficult few weeks for many of us in Atlantic City,’’ said Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. ‘‘People will lose their jobs, and that is never good news. Our hearts go out to our neighbors and friends. We still have difficult waters to navigate.’’