The casino closures in Atlantic City and the loss of more than 8,000 jobs is the first wave of devastating economic news. The second wave will be the effect the job losses will have on local small businesses.
Owners of these small businesses – restaurants, retail shops, auto mechanics and others – rely on local citizens for their livelihoods. If thousands of residents are out of work, how will these businesses survive?
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is holding a summit today to discuss the future of Atlantic City, the seaside gambling destination facing an existential problem: New casinos in New York, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in the region have given gamblers less reason to travel down the Jersey Shore. After years of falling revenue, the city’s casinos are crapping out. Three casinos have already closed this year, and two more are expected to shutter in the weeks to come.
Those closures will eliminate about 10,000 jobs, one-fifth of the city’s workforce. Thus far, the area’s Main Street businesses have largely weathered the gambling industry’s decline. But the worst is probably still to come for local businesses. While the casinos depend on the flow of gamblers, other businesses in the area—housing contractors, grocery stores, car dealers—depend on people who live there, and 10,000 of them are losing jobs.