It is a very cold winter in Atlantic City

. Break out your winter gear -- the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a rough winter for large parts of the U.S.

Break out your winter gear — the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a rough winter.

The state of New Jersey released the gaming revenue figures from July for the Atlantic City casinos; the news was not surprising – for the 22nd consecutive month gaming revenues declined.  The previous declines were blamed on anti-smoking regulation, the recession and slot machines in Pennsylvania.  In July Pennsylvania added table games and analysts added table games to the list of causes for declining revenues in Atlantic City.  There was one additional cause – heat and air conditions that failed in three casinos; that is the good news because that circumstance was at least temporary and will pass.  The same day the gaming figures were released a New York Post story said that Genting – the company slated to operate 5000 slot machines in Queens – also hopes in time to get table games; add New York City to the list causes for the decline of Atlantic City.  Regardless of the heat and failing air conditioners, Atlantic City is in the midst of a very long and very cold winter. If I close my eyes and picture the Boardwalk in my mind it is dark, covered with snow, little groups of people scurry from on shelter to the next and like a frightening science fiction movie of disaster ominous music is playing in the background.

In Reno, Nevada our the local gaming industry is already 20 years into its long winter, so we kind of understand the process and because of that I see little hope for Atlantic City’s casinos.  Oh, some of casinos will survive, a few will even prosper.  But the industry of the 1980s and 90s, the one the governor of the state, the mayor and even the operators hope to get back with some new management and some marketing magic is gone.  We still have casinos in Reno, some very successful, but we have many fewer casinos; very few people think of Reno as one of gambling capitals of the world any longer.  It is just another town with casinos and as such is not much different from all of the other towns with casinos, except we have more hotel rooms, daily flights and special events that most towns this size. Reno has survived casinos in California, Oregon and Washington; Seattle survived the changes in Boeing; Atlantic City too can survive, but only by growing beyond its single identity as a gambling capital.


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August 2010
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