Atlantic City’s first casino opened in 1978 amidst promises of revitalization and riches. And now this Sunday, August 31, marks the beginning of a wave of major casino closures. Three casinos will close between August 31 and September 16, bringing the total of failed casinos in Atlantic City to four in 2014 alone.
The Showboat Casino will shut its doors on August 31, taking with it nearly 2,100 jobs. On September 2, the much-touted Revel, opened just two years ago, will close and 3,000 jobs will be lost. The Trump Plaza will close on September 16, eliminating more than 1,100 jobs. The Atlantic Club closed on January 13, putting more than 1,600 employees out of work.
As for the future, Keith Foley, a casino analyst for Moody’s Investors Services, recently told the Wall Street Journal: “We always like to think we know where the bottom is. We don’t know where the bottom is for Atlantic City.’’
Moody’s downgraded the city’s bonds to junk status earlier this month, according to the Journal.
In total, nearly 8,000 jobs are being eliminated, along with more than $2 billion in value from the city’s property tax rolls, worsening the already severe economic problems of Atlantic City.
“The ‘grand closing’ of these casinos and the devastating financial impact on their employees and Atlantic City send a stark warning that expanding gambling is the wrong social and economic policy for Florida,” said John Sowinski of No Casinos. “The Revel was hailed as a new concept ‘destination resort’ and a ‘game changer’ for Atlantic City, the same sales pitch we heard for proposals here in Florida. We can and should do better when it comes to economic development. We should seek out industries that bring high-wage, high-demand jobs and not settle for the false promises of casino operators who see our state as their next gambling haven.”