By Noel McLaren
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — Prayer at a casino may sound sacrilegious, but nearly 8,000 Revel and Show Boat workers say turning to God is the last hope they have.
About 1,000 of them are planning to gather between the two closing casinos on the boardwalk to prayer for answers as they lose their jobs.
“We want to make it clear this is a prayer service and not a funeral for the city,” said President of Unite Local 54, Bob McDevitt. “We’re thinking about the city and its future, and we’re very hopeful, and we’re going to be prayerful tonight and bring the community together to talk about what the next steps are and how we turn this around.”
And the hardships felt in the casinos are trickling down the boardwalk onto the streets. Cab drivers tell Eyewitness News their pickups are slowing down with fewer guests at Revel and Showboat.
“The cab business is dead,” said driver Bouch Abdesslam. “Only weekend, only Friday or Saturday.”
But despite the grim outlook, cabbies and casino workers say they’re searching for the silver lining and are hoping for Atlantic City’s rebirth.
“Maybe this is a testing for South Jersey and maybe it’s time for us to reinvent ourselves and rebrand ourselves,” said prayer leader Rev. Eric McCoy.
“We still have a very good story to tell,” said McDevitt. “The mistakes that were made were not made by the workers or citizens; they were made by people who were here for the short-haul.”
Showboat is set to close August 31st, with Revel right behind it on September 2nd.