By David Madden and Suzanne Monaghan
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., (CBS) — Sunday is the last day for gaming at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City. Monday, Revel will close its hotel during the day and the casino overnight. The two closings, paired with the scheduled shutdown of Trump Plaza in about two weeks, will put several thousand people out of work.
Roger Gros with Global Gaming Business Magazine truly believes these closings, while painful, were necessary given Atlantic City casinos have been losing money for at least seven years.
“This was going to happen sooner or later. I think it’s probably good that it’s happening all at once because you’ll get it out of your system and this market will be ready to move forward,” Gros said.
Efforts to help those losing their jobs crank up after the holiday weekend. Gros says their employment options are limited.
“If they want to stay in the casino business, they’re going to have to leave South Jersey. They’ll have to go to Maryland or Massachusetts or to many of the other states where they’re hiring right now. They’re not going to be able to do in South Jersey because the jobs just aren’t there,” Gros said.
That doesn’t mean the losses will reverse themselves overnight. The remaining eight casinos, and the city, will have to continue efforts to lure non-gaming customers. Gros believes someone will buy Revel and make it a casino again. Maybe Showboat too. But Trump Plaza, he believes will come down to make way, perhaps, for expansion of “The Walk,” the city’s outlet district.
Back in Philadelphia, many people say with more options for places to gamble there’s no need to head to Atlantic City.
“I don’t go to Atlantic City any more. I used to quite often, but not any more, since this is up here,” said one gambler at Sugarhouse Casino.
Many don’t love the drive to Atlantic City. “It’s not really worth it anymore,” said a gambler. “These casinos are close by. You could win anywhere and the traffic is too bad, so why go that far.”
Many say they still like Atlantic City for the hotels, shows and beaches, but AC needs to promote those things over gaming.
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