Atlantic City is a coastal resort city in the state of New Jersey, United States. The history of Atlantic City can be traced back to the 1850s and the idea of creating a resort town in 1853 led to the name ‘Atlantic City’. The creation of the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway in the late 1870s brought tourists to the city and new hotels were built, many of which were luxurious. The golden age of Atlantic City is considered to be the 1920s through to the 60s. Having had many ups and downs since that time, is the city close to returning to those great decades?
The 1920s to the 60s
Tourism in Atlantic City was at its peak in the 1920s, with many people choosing to visit the city, for a day out, weekend away, or longer vacation. Prohibition came into force in 1919 and lasted until 1933 in the United States but this did not stop the progress of Atlantic City. Gambling and the drinking of liquor continued behind closed doors at restaurants and nightclubs. Due to the fact the alcohol was being smuggled into Atlantic City without much opposition, the popularity of the resort grew during the 1920s. The South Side of Atlantic was known for its night clubs between the 1930s and 60s but come the end of the 60s and into the 70s and 80s, Atlantic City declined, with many of the top hotels being demolished.
One idea to get Atlantic City back to its best was to legalize gambling and this was passed in 1976. The legalization of gambling saw the construction of the first legal casino in the eastern United States. Additional casinos were built along the Boardwalk and as a result, there are now 12 casinos in Atlantic City. Big time boxing was introduced to Atlantic City in the 1980s, with Mike Tyson fighting many times in the city. This brought Atlantic City to the attention of millions of people around the world and boosted the tourism industry. Today, it is legal to gamble online in New Jersey but there are plenty of social casinos operating in the state, such as Rush Games and other similar casinos.
Through the 1990s and early 2000s, Atlantic City witnessed another decline, with bankruptcy seeing many businesses close but fast forward to the 2020s and it is on the way up. In fact, in 2021, the popular tourism website TripAdvisor named Atlantic City one of the top-trending beach destinations in the US. Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City is a great example of the fantastic resorts currently available in Atlantic City and Caesars Entertainment have been keen to invest money into the resorts, including Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Caesars. In the first quarter of 2021, the gross operating profit of Atlantic City casinos was over $95 million, much more than the previous year. We must take the pandemic into account when analysing the figures, but this number and increase shows Atlantic City is getting back to its best.
Covid, although damaging at the time, may have served a purpose for Atlantic City. As many of the resorts reopened following the pandemic, they were forced to offer outdoor experiences as a way of keeping afloat. Many people enjoyed dining outdoors and as a result, the resorts have created outdoor dining areas on the Boardwalk, with fantastic views of the ocean. After dark pool parties is a new concept that has been introduced to Atlantic City and have proved to very popular among guests. The casinos are still open and where many people choose to spend much of their time when in Atlantic City, but the new and exciting outdoor experiences have helped bring the city close to its previous best.