* Bally's * Borgata * Caesars * Golden Nugget * Hard Rock
* Ocean Resort * Resorts * Tropicana
In 1976, New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling limited to Atlantic City. After the subsequent enactment of legislation setting standards for the licensing of the casinos, the first casino-hotel, Resorts Atlantic City, opened in May 1978. Resorts and the casino-hotels which followed experienced strong initial growth, but by the mid-1980s their regional monopoly began to decline with new competition in nearby states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The failure of the casino-hotel industry and the state and local governments to invest in diversifying Atlantic City with attractions other than gambling also contributed to the decline as newer casino resorts gradually eroded the City's market.
Within the City, the opening of the new Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in July 2003 also adversely impacted its older competitors, some of which had implemented costly expansion and renovation projects in anticipation of the new property. In the next few years, however, the industry experienced a sharp drop in visitors and erosion of its financial position, exacerbated by the high debt burdens from expansion costs and the economic recession which took hold in 2008. Commencing in 2007, for the first time in the City's history, total casino revenue fell from the year before, an annual decline which continued through 2015--marking a precipitous fall from the peak of $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.6 billion in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, modest growth was restored, but only due to the addition of new revenue from Internet gambling.
In 2014, four of the then twelve casino-hotels closed, including the new Revel Casino, which opened in 2012 after a construction cost exceeding $2.4 billion, but declared bankruptcy two separate times before closing in September 2014. In October 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal, which had been acquired out of bankruptcy by investor Carl Icahn, closed after a prolonged strike by its employees. Atlantic City's municipal government also was placed under state management in November 2016 pursuant to legislation authorizing a takeover to restructure its operations and finances.
In June 2018, two of the previously closed casinos--Revel and Trump Taj Mahal--were re-opened following bankruptcy reorganization under new ownership and new names, with the former Revel now the Ocean Resort Casino and the Taj Mahal as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The decision of the US Supreme Court allowing New Jersey and other states to authorize sports gambling--which some Atlantic City casinos began offering in the summer of 2018--also is expected to assist the recovery of the Atlantic City gaming market.
In the 2017 calendar year, total casino revenue in New Jersey reported to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement by the then seven casinos in operation was $2.65 billion, an increase of 2.2% over 2016. The total also included $245 million from online gambling, a 24.9% gain from the prior year. For 2017, the leading casinos in casino win (net dollars retained by the casino after all bets are paid including online gambling) were Borgata ($803 million); Tropicana ($391 million); Harrah's ($364 million); and Caesars ($325 million). The total non-gaming revenue of the casino-hotels from rooms, food and beverage, entertainment and other products and services was $1.1 billion. The hotel occupancy rate in calendar year 2017 was 86.9%.
* 2017 Casino-Hotel Revenues, NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement
* Atlantic City Gaming Revenue, 1986-2017, Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Easter Sunday 1904 crowds on Atlantic City boardwalk in film by Thomas Edison
Postcard circa 1890 Image: NewJerseyAlmanac.com
Film of Atlantic City in 1930s
Source: NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, Data for 2017 calendar year
Online casino gambling
* Casino Control Commission, State of New Jersey
* Division of Gaming Enforcement, New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety
* Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
* City of Atlantic City
* County of Atlantic
Media and reference
* Casino Association of New Jersey
* PressofAtlanticCity.com (Casinos & Tourism)
* Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
* Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism, Stockton University
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