By Noel McLaren

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., (CBS) — The stage is set, and the beaches are packed, as tens of thousands of people already flocked to Atlantic City in preparation for Thursday’s free Blake Shelton concert. Mayor Don Guardian says this is his vision for the future of the boardwalk.

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“We realize that there’s a proliferation of casinos all up and down the East Coast,” he said. “We anticipate that three will be closing and they’ll be opening up again as some other venue probably not as casinos and so we are really rebranding ourselves. It’s time for us to expand beyond just gaming.”

By setting up for the beach music bash, the hope is Atlantic City will also be setting itself up for re-invention. The Mayor says he wants the draw for the city to be its beaches and its boardwalk rather than its casinos, which are slowly spreading across the country.

“You got to remember Atlantic City is still a Jersey Shore town,” he said. “We’re the urban town but we’re still the Jersey Shore so all of the activities you get of being on the ocean is right here for people to enjoy.

Visitors are catching on, some not even betting a single cent before the concert.

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“No I don’t go to the casino, I don’t gamble,” said visitor Kenya Anderson.

“We have kids with us we have from the youngest is 17 the oldest is 89 there’s ten of us so we have some that will not be gambling,” said visitor Lynn Hockersmith.

Sixty-thousand already have tickets to be on the beach for the concert, and those who don’t can watch and listen from the boardwalk.

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