Vegas of the East: Atlantic City Revival?

Published on November 22nd, 2016

_MG_2909Daryl Hall performing in Atlantic City in December 2012. Daryl Hall and John Oates are a strong annual draw at the Borgata Casino.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Anyone who has traveled with any frequency to Las Vegas and Atlantic City will say the same thing. The two entertainment hubs, despite their shared moth-to-a-flame power over gamblers and thrill-seekers, are nothing alike.

Maybe the location is partly to blame. You would be smart to bring an umbrella and rain coat no matter what time of year you plan a trip to the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Or in the winter, you might need snow boots to get from Caesars to the Tanger Outlet Mall. If you’re willing to put up with the weather, a plane ticket to the city’s distant airport won’t be cheap. And for drivers given few route options other than the Atlantic City Expressway, you’ll probably hit traffic on Friday evening. It’s enough to make you want to stay inside and fire up your FoxyBingo account.

But the existence of traffic on the roads leading to Atlantic City is a net positive. The economic recovery is sluggish here, where trendy new casinos like Revel are struggling to gain footing.

History hasn’t favored the area well, either.

While Vegas became a boomtown in the late 1990s, the city saw slower growth. But are the seeds planted for a boom of Atlantic City’s own?

There’s an unmistakable buzz any given night at the Borgata, where acts like Daryl Hall and John Oates play to sold-out crowds in the expansive Borgata Event Center at the same time as twenty-somethings cruise between night clubs to catch Tiesto or David Guetta.

On 30 Rock, the suave Jack Donaghy has a midnight craving for the casino’s offerings. “We can be in the crepe line at the Borgata by dawn!”

They’re firing on all cylinders to all the right demographics, and it’s made the $1.1 billion Borgata the city’s highest grossing casino.

Concerts in Atlantic City are picking up steam as venues other venues like House of Blues, Revel, Caesars, Trump Taj Mahal, Tropicana, and Harrah’s fill their calendars. There’s also the benefit of the east coast’s population. Perhaps cheaper flights and a few more casino options could trigger a revival of Atlantic City, which could stand to regain some of its lost glamour.

The invention of an ‘Atlantic City residency’ may still be far off, but maybe it’s not an impossibility.

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