Four years ago, 2014 began with the closing of the Atlantic Club casino on January 14. Later that summer, three more Atlantic City casinos — Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza — closed within the space of three weeks between the end of August and mid-September.
None of the closings was a surprise. The Atlantic City gaming market was contracting because of regional competition, especially from casinos in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Something had to give, and it ultimately turned out to be five casinos and the loss of more than 13,000 jobs.
What a difference four years and a little investor confidence makes. On Memorial Day weekend, Resorts Casino Hotel, which itself was just days away from closing in 2010 before it was rescued by a New York real estate mogul Morris Bailey and the now-late casino marketing maven Dennis Gomes, will drop up to 10,000 beach balls on the world famous Boardwalk.
Then it will re-enact the first roll of the dice from May 26, 1978 as the First Game in Town celebrates the 40th anniversary of its opening as Atlantic City’s first casino. But for all of the anniversary weekend excitement, that’s just the warm-up. Four weeks later, if all goes according to plans, two new casinos are scheduled to open June 28. In four decades of gaming, several gaming halls had closed during the same week.