Why Atlantic City Never Made it as the Vegas of the East


It’s over 40 years ago that an experiment to transform a run-down resort town on the eastern seaboard of America first began. That was when the first casino opened its doors in Atlantic City following a vote in 1976 in which 1.5 million residents of New Jersey voted for gambling to be allowed in the state.

The hopes were high that this would lead to the kind of boom that saw Las Vegas grow from being a small town in the Nevada Desert into the phenomenon it is today, attracting over 42 million visitors every year.

Some very big names were also involved in the promotion of the resort. For example, President Trump was one of the very first businessmen to see the potential of Atlantic City. He also sensed that if it was to become a Vegas of the East, it would have to start acting like Vegas.

Boxing was an obvious way in and Trump believed that persuading Mike Tyson to hold many of his biggest fights there would be a winning strategy. Perhaps the most famous of these was the encounter with a challenger for the World Heavyweight Title, Michael Spinks. At the time, it had the biggest purse in boxing history, $70 million. The actual fight lasted a mere 91 seconds before Spinks was knocked out and the combination of the high expectation for the bout and the disappointment at its anticlimactic finish could be seen as a metaphor for Atlantic City itself.

It turned out that the place simply didn’t have the atmosphere and style of Vegas. Tourism numbers never quite matched up to expectations. So not only were the hotels, restaurants and bars failing to make the requisite profits, so were the casinos, many of which started to close down.

That’s not to say that New Jersey has turned its back on gambling. Not only was it the state that pressed the hardest to bring in sports betting, there are still many online casinos operating there. These have thrived by achieving what Atlantic City failed to do – attracting visitors, many of who have been drawn in by attractive welcome offers available for holders of the right codes. Indeed, for a full list of the best NJ online casino promo codes go to bonusfinder, where anyone looking for more information will be able to read about the different kinds of bonus available as well as find reviews of the online casino codes themselves.

Perhaps if the city had been as accommodating and encouraging to bring in new business it would today be closer to its aim of making its Boardwalk as appealing and successful as the legendary Las Vegas Strip. On the other hand, the relative isolation of Vegas has always acted in its favor while New York, arguably the world’s most exciting city, is a mere two hours’ drive away from the New Jersey resort. With that kind of competition for the tourist dollar so very close, perhaps the odds were stacked against Atlantic City from the start.