Much has been said or written about over the past few years concerning the state of Atlantic City. From various financial problems to the closing of several of the city’s prominent casinos, the beachside resort town has gone through its share of ups and downs. What once was one of the few places in the United States where people could legally gamble is now a mixed bag of casinos, shopping, dining and beachfront real estate attempting to reinvent itself and remain attractive for tourists and local alike.
Of course, with legalized casino gambling available in most places around the country these days, traditional gaming towns have had to do more to keep visitors coming back. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Tunica no longer have the stranglehold on slot machines and table games like they once did. Atlantic City is not an international tourist destination like Vegas continues to be in 2016. An untimely budget crisis and lack of governmental support or infrastructure have only made things worse. Mismanagement and mistiming of new properties and resorts have not helped either.
Thus, the struggle to thrive (or even stay afloat) in a new era of existence is one of the biggest problems facing Atlantic City moving forward.
On this particular day in June, however, Atlantic City seemed to be bustling with life. The boardwalk was filled with people walking around and enjoying the food and fare along the sand. Beachside bars and restaurants were playing music and serving patrons until late in the evening. Carnival rides and amusement park games entertained families and couples from morning to sunset. It was as if none of the city’s problems mattered, at least for the thousands crowding the walkways and beaches on that weekend afternoon.
Perhaps that is what really matters. Instead of attempting to expand and overextended itself, Atlantic City needs to focus on what people really enjoy about what it offers. Build great beaches. Bring in shopping that visitors to the city want (and can afford). Open restaurants that are uniquely “New Jersey” or local favorites. Casino gaming can no longer support most cities like it once did. Resort spend, outside revenue, and other options and ideas are needed to turn a profit in today’s market.
I will post a more in-depth article on the state of Atlantic City in the near future.
On this day, however, I was more than happy to just celebrate and usher in the beginning of summer.