Atlantic City Weathering Challenging TimesNovember 28, 2016 2:11 pm
Atlantic City’s gambling market thrived during the last century, but the 2000’s brought fresh challenges as neighboring states embraced their own industries. Since then, Atlantic City’s casino revenues have halved since their 2006 peak of $5.2 billion, while in 2011 the city was overtaken by Pennsylvania as the country’s second largest gambling destination.
In the meantime, Atlantic City’s financial problems have continued to worsen, and currently Governor Chris Christie’s administration has taken over control of AC’s assets and governmental functions. Nevertheless, a recent referendum to expand casino gambling to the north of New Jersey was recently voted down by the state resident’s, who apparently are content to see AC maintain its monopoly over the state’s industry, albeit at the now reduced number of just seven venues down from 12 last year.
The good news, however, is that the seven casinos that are still operating are doing rather well, thus providing a ray of hope for the city’s beleaguered situation. In fact, their revenues are up all across the board as the market has become less saturated, but still the overall size of that market has shrunk, meaning reinvestment into the city finances has also faltered.
Needless to say, increased competition from nearby states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut has made Atlantic City less of an enticing gambling holiday option than it once was, a situation that has been exasperated by the lack of non-gambling activities once available to its visitors. As Tropicana CEO Tony Rodio previously noted:
“All we really needed was gaming. We were the convenience option for the entire Northeast. We had more demand than we had supply. We didn’t need conventions.”
Fortunately, Atlantic City has started adapting to the new reality, and in recent years has started offering more family and recreational oriented activities as it tries to wrestle back a bigger slice of the Northeast vacation and conference trade.