The Complete History Of Gambling In Atlantic City

Gambling has a long and storied history in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the city serving as the center of this industry. Located on Absecon Island, Atlantic City’s history has been characterized by many legal and economic changes, but it is currently experiencing a resurgence as a major tourist destination.

image of Absecon Island map in 19th century

image of Absecon Island map in 19th century

Before it became a health resort, Absecon Island was used for shellfish harvesting and light farming. However, But in the 1850s, Jonathan Pitney convinced railroad investors to build rail lines from Philadelphia and Camden to the beachfront city that he helped engineer. The construction of the United States Hotel, a 600-room resort that could accommodate 2,000 guests, marked the beginning of hotel development in Atlantic City.

The first Boardwalk was constructed in 1870 to keep beach sand out of hotel lobbies. Initially, the Boardwalk was only temporary and seasonal, but it eventually became a permanent fixture in Atlantic City. In the early 1900s, many more hotels were built, and by the 1920s, Atlantic City had become firmly established as a premier summer resort destination on the East Coast.

Sketch of the United States Hotel

Sketch of the United States Hotel featured in The Sea-Side Resorts of New Jersey from 1877. Courtesy of HathiTrust.


Today, Atlantic City is home to several casinos and other attractions, and it continues to draw visitors from all over the country. The city’s gaming industry has made a significant contribution to its economy, and the history of gambling in Atlantic City is an integral part of the city’s past. From its illegal beginnings to its current status as a legal and regulated industry, gambling has played a significant role in the history and development of Atlantic City.






Table of Contents

    Early Era

    first image of College of New Jersey

    The College of New Jersey – Founded on this day in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School

    Gambling has a long history in New Jersey, with the state historically being more lenient towards gambling activities than other states. In the early days of New Jersey’s history, lotteries were prevalent and played a role in funding the construction of Queen’s College (now Rutgers University) and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). However, lotteries were eventually banned in the state in 1844 due to concerns about corruption and abuse. Horse racing has also had a significant impact on gambling in New Jersey. Freehold Raceway, located in Monmouth County, is the oldest racetrack in the United States, with horse racing taking place informally there since the 1830s. The Monmouth County Agricultural Society was formed in 1853, and in 1854, they began holding an annual fair with harness racing at Freehold Raceway. Monmouth Park Racetrack, situated in Oceanport, opened in 1870 and is still a popular destination for horse racing fans today.

    In 1894, parimutuel gambling was prohibited by the New Jersey Legislature. However, a referendum in 1897 amended the state constitution to ban all forms of betting (or possibly all commercial gambling) and was approved by voters. Despite these efforts to suppress betting, it continued to thrive in New Jersey, with illegal betting operations appearing throughout the state. It wasn’t until the 1970s that gambling was officially legalized in Atlantic City, paving the way for the development of the city’s casino industry.

    Throughout the early era of betting in New Jersey, the state’s relationship with gambling was complicated and often tumultuous. While some forms of gambling were accepted and even encouraged, others were met with resistance and attempted to prohibit them. Despite these efforts, gambling has remained a part of the state’s history and culture, and it continues to be a significant industry in New Jersey today.

    Expansion of Gambling

    From 1894 to 1939, gambling was outlawed in the state of New Jersey, but enforcement of these laws was inconsistent. Despite the ban, betting continued to thrive in the state, with illegal gambling operations popping up throughout New Jersey.

    In 1953, voters approved a referendum to allow non-profit organizations to hold bingos and raffles. This marked a small but significant shift in the state’s attitude towards betting. In 1959, amusement games were re-legalized after a court decision had declared them illegal, further easing restrictions on casino activities.

    In 1970, a majority of New Jersey voters, 81.5%, approved a referendum creating the state lottery. The success of the lottery helped to pave the way for further legalization of gambling in the state. In 1974, voters voted against legalizing casino activities statewide, but two years later, they approved a new referendum that legalized casinos restricted to Atlantic City.

    Resorts Atlantic City was the first casino to open in 1978, and it was followed by several other casinos in the years that followed. The expansion of casino activities in Atlantic City played a significant role in the city’s economy and helped transform it into a major tourist destination. Today, Atlantic City’s casinos continue to be a major industry in the state, offering both land-based and online gambling options to customers.

    The expansion of gambling in New Jersey has had a complex history and has not been without controversy. Critics have raised concerns about the potential negative social and economic consequences of betting, including issues such as problem gambling and the risk of corruption. Despite these challenges, gambling remains an important industry in the state, and it is likely to continue to be a part of the state’s history and culture for the foreseeable future.

    Sports Betting

    image of Chris Christie

    Chris Christie

    Sports betting has a relatively recent history in the state of New Jersey. In 2012, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation allowing sports betting in the state, making it one of the few states in the country to legalize this form of gambling. The law permits any of the state’s 12 casinos and 4 racetracks to offer gambling on professional and college sports, but prohibits them from accepting bets on college events played in New Jersey or out-of-state games involving New Jersey college teams.

    However, this legislation was not without controversy. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) effectively grandfathered Nevada’s federal statutory monopoly on legal sports betting, and New Jersey’s attempt to legalize sports betting was met with resistance. In 2014, the state challenged PASPA in court, arguing that the law was unconstitutional and violated states’ rights.

    The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2017. On May 14, 2018, the court issued its opinion in Murphy v. NCAA (the case had been renamed due to the election of Phil Murphy as governor). The Court overturned the Appeals Court decision, ruling that PASPA was unconstitutional and allowing New Jersey to move forward with plans to implement legalized sports betting.

    The legalization of sports betting in New Jersey has had a significant impact on the state’s casino industry. Sports betting has helped to boost the state’s economy and has attracted a new customer base to casinos and racetracks. However, it has also raised concerns about the potential for problem gambling and the risk of corruption. Despite these concerns, sports betting is likely to continue to be an important part of the state’s gambling industry for the foreseeable future. It has become so popular that it has even inspired the creation of new and innovative forms of sports betting, such as online and mobile sports betting platforms.

    In addition to the traditional sports betting options available at casinos and racetracks, these online platforms have helped to make sports betting more accessible and convenient for customers. This has further contributed to the popularity of sports betting in New Jersey and has helped to drive the growth of the state’s casino industry.

    Online Gambling

    image of Raymond Lesniak

    Raymond Lesniak

    The legalization of online gambling in the state of New Jersey has had a long and complex history, with several different pieces of legislation being passed and vetoed over the years. In January 2011, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Raymond Lesniak that would allow residents of the state over the age of 21 to engage in online betting activities. This legislation was designed to take advantage of the growing popularity of online gambling and to help boost the state’s economy.

    However, the bill faced some challenges before it could be implemented. To ensure that all online betting activities would be closely regulated and subject to the same standards as traditional land-based casinos, the legislation specified that the computer servers operating the online betting websites must be located at licensed casinos in Atlantic City. This was because the state constitution allows casino gambling only in this city.

    Governor Chris Christie vetoed the initial legislation due to concerns that “allowing customers to bet through any computer terminal left open the chance of commercial businesses such as nightclubs and cafes becoming gambling hubs around the state”. In response, new legislation was drafted that prohibited businesses other than Atlantic City casinos from advertising online betting or allowing their facilities to be used for online gambling.

    On February 26, 2013, this revised bill permitting internet gambling was overwhelmingly approved by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie. The act requires that all online gamblers be at least 21 years old and play from a computer located within the state. The locations of online gamblers will likely be verified through GPS technology, and interstate compacts may authorize multistate gaming.

    Since the legalization of online betting in New Jersey, the state’s casino industry has experienced significant growth. The convenience and accessibility of online gambling have helped to attract a new customer base to the state’s casinos and racetracks, and it has contributed to the overall economic growth of the state. However, the expansion of online gambling has also raised concerns about the potential for problem gambling and the risk of corruption. Despite these challenges, online betting is likely to continue to be an important part of the state’s casino industry for the foreseeable future.

    One of the key benefits of online gambling is the ability for players to access a wide range of games from the comfort of their own homes. This has made it easier for people to participate in casino activities and has helped to increase the popularity of New Jersey casinos. In addition, online betting has allowed the state’s casinos and racetracks to reach a wider customer base, both within the state and beyond its borders.

    However, the expansion of online betting has also raised some concerns. One of the main issues is the potential for problem gambling, as the ease and accessibility of online betting can make it easier for people to develop gambling habits that may lead to negative consequences. To address this issue, the state of New Jersey has implemented many measures to ensure that online betting is conducted responsibly. These measures include setting limits on how much money players can deposit and bet, providing resources for those who may be struggling with gambling addiction, and requiring that all online betting operators implement strict responsible gambling policies.

    Another concern related to online betting is the risk of corruption. It’s hard to trace the NJ gambling law history without admitting the role corruption has played in defining it. To prevent corruption and ensure the integrity of online betting activities, the state of New Jersey has put in place several safeguards. These include strict licensing and regulatory requirements for online gambling operators, as well as regular audits and inspections to ensure that these operators are complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

    The start of the New Gambling Era in New Jersey (1970-1987)

    The 1970s marked a significant shift in the history of gambling in New Jersey. While the state had a long tradition of permissive attitudes towards betting, the legalization of gambling in the state had not always been an easy process. In 1974, a referendum was held on the question of whether to legalize gambling statewide, but it was rejected due to concerns about the potential negative impacts of betting, including the fear that mafia organizations would take control of the industry and that casinos would bring an increase in crime, corruption, and exploitation of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

    Despite the failure of the initial referendum, many Atlantic City residents continued to believe that casinos could be a solution to the city’s economic challenges. In 1976, a revised referendum was passed that only permitted gambling within the boundaries of Atlantic City. This was seen as a compromise that would allow the city to benefit from the economic boost of gambling without exposing the rest of the state to the potential negative consequences of statewide legalization.

    The opening of Resorts Atlantic City in 1978 marked the beginning of a new era in New Jersey’s gambling history. In the following decade, several more casinos would open in the city, helping to revitalize Atlantic City’s economy and make it a major tourist destination on the East Coast. However, the legalization of betting in Atlantic City was not without its challenges, and the city faced several legal and economic shifts as it worked to establish itself as a premier gambling destination.

    Singer Steve Lawrence makes the dice sing

    Singer Steve Lawrence makes the dice sing as he helps the action begin at Resorts International casino in Atlantic City. Governor Brendan Byrne (left) and hotel entertainment director, Jack Davis (right) look on. (Harry Hamburg)

    Casino Building Boom

    The 1980s saw a significant expansion in the casino industry in Atlantic City, with several new casinos opening their doors. The Brighton, which would eventually become the Sands Hotel and Casino, was one of the first to open in 1980, followed by the Harrah’s Casino Hotel and the Golden Nugget at Boston Avenue.

    sands hotel and casino, Atlantic City, 1980

    Sands Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, 1980

    1981 saw the opening of Del Webb’s Claridge and Hi-Ho Casino, which would later be merged with another casino to form Bally’s. The Playboy Hotel & Casino and the Tropicana Casino and Resort also debuted that year. The following year saw the opening of the Harrah’s Boardwalk Hotel Casino at Trump Plaza, and just over a year later, Trump Castle began operations.

    Claridge Casino enter image

    Claridge Casino

    1987 saw the opening of the Showboat Casino Hotel, and in April 1990, the Trump Taj Mahal welcomed its first guests. These new casinos helped to solidify Atlantic City’s position as a major gambling destination on the East Coast, and the industry continued to grow throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The city would have to manage some legal and economic changes in the years to come as a result of the casino industry’s quick rise in Atlantic City.

    The Trump Empire (1987-2000)

    During the late 1980s and 1990s, Atlantic City’s casino industry experienced a period of rapid growth and success, with casino revenues surpassing those of even Las Vegas. One of the main driving forces behind this success was Donald Trump, who owned three of the city’s 12 casinos and promoted major boxing and wrestling matches there. Trump’s casinos, the Trump Plaza, Trump Castle, and the Trump Taj Mahal, were some of the most successful in the city and attracted a wide range of tourists.


    Trump Taj Mahal Resort and Casino, Atlantic City

    Trump Taj Mahal Resort and Casino, Atlantic City

    trump plaza hotel and casino in atlantic city

    Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City

    In addition to the casinos, Trump’s business empire in Atlantic City included many hotels, golf courses, and other properties. The 1990s saw the continued growth of the casino industry in the city, with casino revenues continuing to rise. Nevertheless, the sector had to overcome several obstacles and adjust to changing social, political, and economic conditions throughout time.

    Despite these difficulties, Atlantic City continued to draw visitors and gamblers, in part because of the success of the Trump Empire and other significant casino owners. The city’s casinos continued to draw a variety of tourists, including high rollers and casual gamblers, and they had a big impact on the regional economy.

    Overall, the Trump Empire and other major casino operators played a crucial role in the development and success of the casino industry in Atlantic City during the late 1980s and 1990s. The city’s casinos helped to solidify its position as a premier betting destination on the East Coast and contributed significantly to the local economy. In addition to the economic benefits, the casinos also brought an increase in employment opportunities and helped to boost the city’s reputation as a major tourist destination.

    Seizing Opportunity

    Donald Trump saw the potential in the casino market in Atlantic City and took the opportunity to enter the industry in the 1980s. He acquired a license to build a casino and constructed the 39-story Harrah’s at Trump Plaza, which opened in 1984 and became the largest casino in the city.

    Just a year later, Trump was presented with another opportunity to enter the casino industry when Hilton’s nearly $320 million marina casino project was denied a license. Trump saw an opportunity to acquire a second casino and bought the unfinished property, completing construction and opening Trump Castle. He also acquired Holiday Inn’s share of the property and renamed it Trump Plaza.

    Throughout the rest of the 1980s, Trump’s casinos were among the most successful in Atlantic City, with Trump Plaza reaching peak success in 1989 with revenues of $305 million. Trump’s ability to quickly identify and seize opportunities in the casino industry helped him establish a strong presence in the city and become a major player in the world of betting.

    In addition to his success in the casino industry, Trump also brought major boxing and wrestling matches to Atlantic City, helping to further boost the city’s popularity as a destination for entertainment and gambling. Trump’s impact on the betting scene in Atlantic City cannot be denied, and his casinos continued to thrive well into the 1990s.

    As the 1990s progressed, the casino industry in Atlantic City faced new challenges and changes. The rise of new competitors and the changing legal landscape presented new challenges for the city’s casinos. Despite these challenges, Atlantic City remained a hub for gambling and entertainment on the East Coast, and Trump’s casinos remained a key part of the city’s success.

    Donald Trump vs Merv Griffin

    In the late 1990s, Donald Trump engaged in a public war with TV host Merv Griffin for control of Griffin’s company. The two eventually settled, with Griffin taking over the company and selling the Taj Mahal casino to Trump for $273 million the next day.

    To pay for the purchase and construction of the Taj Mahal, Trump raised $675 million through junk bond sales. Despite facing delays and budget increases, Trump eventually finished construction of the casino and it opened in 1990.

    The Taj Mahal was billed as the eighth wonder of the world and the largest casino on earth, but it failed to live up to the hype. Despite its grand opening, the Taj Mahal struggled to attract the same level of success as Trump’s other casinos in Atlantic City. In the years that followed, the Taj Mahal faced financial struggles and filed for bankruptcy multiple times.

    Despite the challenges faced by the Taj Mahal, Trump remained a major player in the casino industry in Atlantic City. His other casinos continued to thrive, and he remained a key figure in the world of betting. The competition between Trump and Griffin may have ended in a settlement, but it highlighted the cutthroat nature of the casino industry and the high stakes involved in the battle for control of Atlantic City’s casinos. In the following years, the casino industry in Atlantic City would face several challenges, including competition from other states and the rise of online betting.

    Fortunes Fall

    The casino industry in Atlantic City has undergone many ups and downs over the years, and the fortunes of the Trump empire are a prime example of this. In the 1980s, Trump’s casinos were among the top revenue generators in the city, with the Trump Plaza and Trump Castle leading the way. However, by the 1990s, Trump’s fortunes had started to turn. The Trump Taj Mahal, which was billed as the largest casino in the world upon its opening in 1990, was deeply in debt within just 15 months and was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Trump was forced to sell assets and lost half of his interest in the property.

    This was just the beginning of Trump’s struggles in the casino industry. In 1995, he created Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR) from the three casinos that remained after his bankruptcies. He also acquired a fourth casino, the Playboy Hotel and Casino, which he renamed the Trump Regency. However, even this property eventually went bankrupt and was taken over by Chemical Bank. Trump bought it back in 1995 and renamed it the Trump World’s Fair at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Unfortunately, this property also closed permanently in 1998.

    In 2004, THCR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and changed its name to Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER). Just five years later, TER itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors. By 2011, one of the casinos had been sold and reopened as the Golden Nugget, and in 2014, another casino was sold to Icahn Enterprises, with the Taj Mahal being renamed the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City. However, the Trump Plaza closed in 2014, and the Taj Mahal, now known as the Hard Rock, shut its doors in 2016 amid protests. It seems that the casino industry in Atlantic City, much like the city itself, has had a tumultuous history, with many ups and downs.

    Borgata changes the game (2000-2010)

    image of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

    Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City

    In the early 2000s, Atlantic City’s casino industry faced a turning point with the arrival of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. As the city’s casinos began to show their age, casino mogul Steve Wynn announced plans to build a brand new modern property in the marina area. The project faced opposition from some residents and Trump, who tried to block it, but ultimately an exit was added to Trump Marina and construction went ahead as planned. The 1.1 billion dollar resort, which opened in 2003, was the most expensive casino ever built and featured several amenities that the other casinos did not, including a spa, high-end shops, and celebrity chef restaurants. The Borgata quickly became the top-grossing casino in Atlantic City and helped to revitalize the city’s struggling casino industry, surpassing the Trump Taj Mahal and leading to the construction of several other new casinos in the following years. It also set a new standard for luxury and entertainment in the city, which other casinos rushed to match. Despite some initial resistance, the Borgata’s success has proven to be a major turning point for Atlantic City’s gambling industry.  

    Bringing Las Vegas-style action to Atlantic City

    In the early 2000s, Atlantic City needed a boost to its casino industry. The city’s casinos had begun to look dated, and it was clear that something needed to be done to bring in new customers and rejuvenate the market. Enter Steve Wynn, a casino mogul who saw an opportunity to bring the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to the East Coast. Wynn teamed up with the MGM Mirage Company and Boyd Gaming to build the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which opened in 2003 with 200 table games and a 34-table poker room. The casino was a hit from the start, offering a chic nightlife scene and top-notch restaurant options that had previously been lacking in Atlantic City. It also capitalized on the poker boom of the time, hosting several televised World Poker Tour events and expanding its poker room to 85 tables.

    Borgata’s success in bringing Las Vegas-style entertainment to Atlantic City quickly made it the top-performing casino in the city. It was a game-changer for the industry as a whole, as it demonstrated that it was possible to bring high-end luxury and amenities to the East Coast and attract a more upscale clientele.

    Borgata emerges as an Industry leader

    The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa quickly became the industry leader after its opening in 2003. Within a year of opening, Borgata’s gaming revenues surpassed those of the Trump Taj Mahal, which had previously been the highest-grossing casino in the city. In 2005, Borgata’s revenues reached almost $700 million, solidifying its position as the top casino in Atlantic City. The casino’s success can be attributed to its wide range of gaming options, as well as its chic nightlife scene and diverse restaurant offerings. Its position as the premier destination for poker on the East Coast, thanks to its World Poker Tour events and 85-table poker room, also contributed to its success.

    Atlantic City Peaks

    In 2006, Atlantic City reached its peak in terms of gaming revenues, with a total of $5.2 billion. The Sands Casino closed its doors that year, but Borgata remained a strong performer, consistently ranking as a top revenue generator. However, by 2007, total gaming revenues for the city’s 11 remaining casinos had dropped to $4.8 billion, and by 2009 they were below the $4 billion mark. A report from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research in 2016 indicated that Atlantic City’s casino revenues had declined by more than 50% from their 2006 peak, although they have since rebounded somewhat. Despite these challenges, the city remains a popular destination for gambling and entertainment.

    The Crash and Revival (2010 – present)

    The Atlantic City casino industry faced a major downturn in the second decade of the 21st century, as gambling revenue continued to decline. Despite this, Borgata remained a strong performer and industry leader. However, several other less competitive properties were forced to close their doors, leading to a dip in overall casino revenue for the city. To revitalize the market, there have been several new casinos and partnerships emerging in recent years. Now, let us take a closer look at competition and closures, also an example of such a scenario.

     Competition and Closures

    The Atlantic City casino industry faced a significant blow in 2014 when one-third of the city’s existing boardwalk casinos closed their doors. The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel was the first to shut down, with plans to eventually transform it into an indoor water park and convention center. Showboat Atlantic City, which had changed ownership several times, was considered profitable but was still shuttered by Caesars Entertainment that summer. Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Trump’s first casino in Atlantic City, also closed its doors after 30 years of operation. Trump filed a lawsuit to have his name removed from the property, but the suit became irrelevant when the Plaza shut down in September.

    The closures of these casinos marked a significant shift in the Atlantic City casino industry, as competition from newer, more modern casinos in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and Maryland had begun to take its toll on the older, less competitive properties. In 2013, New York State legalized casino gambling, leading to the opening of several new casinos in the region. The closures also marked the beginning of a period of decline for the city’s gaming industry, as gambling revenue continued to drop in the face of increasing competition.

    Revel’s Casino Rise and Fall

    Revel Casino in Atlantic city

    Revel Casino in Atlantic City

    The Revel Casino was one of the most highly anticipated developments in Atlantic City’s history. In 2006, Morgan Stanley and Revel Entertainment Group announced plans to build a lavish resort and casino in the city, across from the Showboat. The construction of the Revel Casino began in 2007, with a planned opening in 2010. However, financial difficulties led to delays and the casino didn’t open its doors until 2011. Despite the hype and grandeur of the property, the Revel Casino struggled to find its footing in the competitive Atlantic City market. Revel Casino-Hotel faced numerous challenges during its time in operation. In addition to financial difficulties, the property struggled with low occupancy rates and competition from other casinos in the area. Despite efforts to restructure and rebrand, the casino was unable to turn a profit and ultimately closed its doors in 2014. This was a significant blow to the Atlantic City casino industry, which had already seen some closures in recent years.

    In 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal also closed its doors due to a labor dispute, leaving only seven casinos operating in Atlantic City: Bally’s Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget Hotel Casino, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Resorts Casino Hotel, and Tropicana Casino And Resort.

    In the aftermath of Revel’s closure, the remaining casinos in Atlantic City faced increased competition and pressure to stay afloat. Many properties were forced to make significant changes to their operations to stay relevant and attract customers. This included the addition of new amenities, such as luxury spas and high-end dining options, as well as the expansion of gaming offerings to include newer and more popular games.

    Despite these challenges, the Atlantic City casino industry has shown signs of recovery in recent years. In 2018, two new casinos opened in the city: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Resort Casino. Both properties have made significant investments in their operations, to attract a new generation of casino-goers to Atlantic City. While it remains to be seen how the future of the city’s casinos will play out, the industry is still standing strong and working to reinvent itself in the face of changing market conditions.

    Online Gambling comes to New Jersey

    In December 2012, New Jersey passed legislation allowing Atlantic City casinos and players within the state to offer online gambling services. This marked a major shift in the industry, as it allowed players to access casino games and poker sites from the comfort of their own homes. Five of Atlantic City’s casinos, including the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget Hotel Casino, Resorts Casino Hotel, and Tropicana Casino and Resort, now offer a total of 20 different online casinos and poker sites. The introduction of online gambling has had a positive impact on the industry, as seen in the 32% increase in internet gaming revenues from 2015 to 2016, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Overall, casino revenues in the city hit a 10-year high of $2.603 billion in 2016, a 1.5% increase from the previous year.

    Christie vs NCAA

    In 2010, the state of New Jersey began to explore the possibility of challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law passed in 1992 that prohibited states from authorizing sports betting. This was a pivotal moment in gambling law history. State Senators Raymond Lesniak and Stephen M. Sweeney attempted to file a lawsuit against PASPA but were blocked by courts that ruled only the governor and attorney general’s office had the authority to do so. Governor Chris Christie was initially hesitant to take on the challenge, but after receiving strong support from New Jersey residents, the state passed the Sports Wagering Act in 2012.

    Christie argued before the Supreme Court that PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, which gives states the power to regulate matters that are not specifically delegated to the federal government. In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey, effectively striking down PASPA and allowing states to legalize and regulate sports betting. New Jersey was the first state to launch sports betting operations, with the first legal wager being placed on June 14, 2018, at Monmouth Park Racetrack and Borgata Casino. Since then, several other states have followed suit and begun offering sports betting to their residents.

    New Blood

    In June 2018, two new casinos opened their doors in Atlantic City: the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and the Ocean Resort Casino. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was the result of a partnership between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International. The tribe purchased the Taj Mahal space from Icahn Enterprises for $50 million and invested another $500 million into renovations to transform the property into the Hard Rock brand. The new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino boasts more than 2,000 rooms and has opened over 20 new eateries. On the other hand, the Ocean Resort Casino is the brainchild of Bruce Deifik, who successfully resurrected the former Revel Casino-Hotel. The new Ocean Resort Casino offers about 1,400 rooms, 16 eateries, 6 swimming pools, and a massive new spa.

    The opening of these two new casinos has brought new energy to Atlantic City, with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino quickly becoming a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. With its iconic rock and roll theme, the casino offers a variety of gaming options, including traditional table games, slot machines, and a poker room. In addition to its casino offerings, the Hard Rock also features a number of concert venues, making it a top choice for live music fans.

    The Ocean Resort Casino, on the other hand, has focused on offering a luxurious and upscale experience for its guests. In addition to its casino offerings, the resort features a number of high-end restaurants and a spa, as well as a number of luxury hotel rooms and suites. The resort has also made a name for itself with its expansive pool complex, featuring multiple pools and a number of cabanas and poolside bars.

    While it remains to be seen how these new casinos will fare in the long run, their openings have brought a renewed sense of optimism to Atlantic City’s struggling casino industry. With a combination of classic and modern amenities, these casinos are sure to attract a wide range of visitors, bringing new life and energy to the city’s iconic boardwalk.

    The proliferation of Sports betting

    The proliferation of sports betting in Atlantic City has been rapid in recent years. In June 2018, Borgata became the first casino in the city to open a sportsbook, giving it a two-week advantage over Ocean Resort Casino, which followed shortly after. In the months that followed, sports betting locations in Atlantic City tripled, with Fanduel opening the first sportsbook in Northern New Jersey. In August, DraftKings launched New Jersey’s first online sportsbook under the license of Resorts Casino Hotel, followed shortly by BetMGM and PlaySugarhouse with their online offerings. Hard Rock Casino is also preparing to launch its sportsbook and has plans to launch two online skins with different partners.

    As more and more states legalize sports betting, the market has exploded, with new sportsbooks opening up left and right. Additionally, the launch of online sportsbooks has made it even easier for people to place bets from the comfort of their own homes. All of this has contributed to a significant increase in gambling revenues in Atlantic City, and it looks like sports betting is here to stay.

    The brighter looking future

    The Atlantic City casino industry has had a rough ride over the past few decades, with a series of closures and financial struggles. However, in recent years, the industry has begun to show signs of recovery. Online gaming has played a significant role in this turnaround, with online revenue reaching a record $246 million in 2017, contributing to a 2% increase in total combined revenue for the industry. The consolidation of the market has also helped boost individual casino revenues, and the introduction of sports betting operations has the potential to further improve revenues for the city’s casinos. Overall, the future looks brighter for Atlantic City’s casino industry.

    In conclusion, Atlantic City’s casino industry has had a rocky history, with highs and lows, closures and new openings. In the early 2000s, Borgata emerged as the industry leader and brought a new level of luxury and sophistication to the city. However, in the second decade of the millennium, the industry faced a decline, with several casinos forced to close their doors. In recent years, the industry has shown signs of recovery, with the advent of online gambling and the opening of new casinos, such as Hard Rock and Ocean Resort. With the proliferation of sports betting and the consolidation of the market, the future looks brighter for Atlantic City’s casinos.



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