Visitors come here not because of the good sea air and sandy beach in the coastal town of New Jersey. They prefer odor of chlorine and detergents extending over the whole city. However, they come to play. The slot halls of the casinos are occupied by pensioners, the entire armies wearing white-haired helmets.
During the day the Atlantic City is reigned by orthopedic shoes on the streets and in the casinos, but when it’s getting dark high heels dominate. Both young and old, they all seek their fortune. An average a tourist comes here more than six times a year, says Israel ‘Izzy’ Posner, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the local Stockton College.
Casinos in the United States have had a bad image for long years. Many Americans associate gambling business with organized crime and prostitution. Nevertheless, the business is flourishing. ‘The US is very much more prudish than Germany’, Posner says. ‘Here things are demonized, while somewhere else they are absolutely normal’.
As flights became more affordable in the 1970s, it attracted many Americans from the south of the country. Atlantic City casinos are legalized and controlled, which is unusual outside of Nevada. The city enjoyed so many decades of casino monopoly in the entire eastern United States. But that was recently broken, since a few years ago casinos are allowed in the neighboring states like New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut.
The city has become a pure gambling concentration hub. More than two-thirds of the tax revenue is generated by casino industry according to US rating agency Moody’s. It seemed pointless to invest in other sectors according to Posner. Finally, there would have been nothing that would similarly yield as much money as the casino business. Therefore, the dependence grew with time. While the Casino Reinvestment Development builds up to 1.25 percent of their revenue from casinos in order to invest in other projects that the beneficial effect will be sensed by the entire city. However, it has brought little: more than a quarter of citizens living below the poverty line. According to statistics published at dgfev.de gambling hub, a website focusing on gambling statistics, nearly 15 percent Atlantic City has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire country, higher even than in the bankrupt city of Detroit. The crime rate is the second highest in the state.
Currently, virtually everyone has an opinion about how the problem could be solved. ‘I understand that the gimmick attracts many people, but I also think that everything is so comfortable’, says Burger Snyder, the manager. ‘We should rebuild a casino to a water park. Thus, you will be able to leave your kids and then go play if you want to’. Posner sees it similarly: ‘Entertainment, dining, shopping – the whole experience has to be right. No one comes more to Atlantic City just to play’.
For the Trump Taj Mahal all these considerations come too late. The staff is already warned that the light will go out on November, 13. ‘Maybe Trump wants us back’, hopes Bruce Porter Northfield. Real estate mogul Donald Trump acquired the casino, which still bears his name, years ago. He probably already knew early that the golden days are going to end.