Atlantic City Celebrating 40 Years in the Gambling Industry

atlantic city 40 years

Atlantic City used to be a sleepy little town in New Jersey, known for its boardwalk and as the inspiration for Monopoly. In 1976, the town legalized casino gambling, and the first casino opened forty years ago. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of casino gambling, Atlantic City is planning activities and events throughout the summer.

The History of Atlantic City

In its early 20th century heyday, Atlantic City was a beach town that thrived in the summer. People came to Atlantic City to escape the summer heat and entrepreneurs built great hotels. However, the Great Depression hit the town hard because people had no money to spend on vacations. World War II brought momentary prosperity with war money, but after the war, Atlantic City had problems with poverty and crime following the economic decline and citizens leaving the town for other more prosperous areas. Atlantic City wasn’t doing well as a tourist town either because people only came to town for the weekend rather than coming by train and spending weeks at the hotels. Increasingly, people did not look to the town as a tourist destination when cheap flights to tropical paradises such as Miami were available. The city continued to decline, and television coverage of the town became increasingly negative. Many of the great hotels from the 1920s were demolished in the 1970s.

In the mid-1970s, business owners in Atlantic City decided to ask the state of New Jersey to pass gambling legislation to help revitalize the city. In 1978, the first casino, Resorts International, opened. While the opening of casinos did not resolve all of the problems of Atlantic City, it did bring additional jobs and revenue to the city.

Current Events in Atlantic City

Currently, Atlantic City has seven casinos: Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Resorts, Tropicana, and the Wild Wild West Casinos. All of the casinos have table games and operate as hotels as well. Venues are available for concerts and sporting events. Boxing is a popular sporting event in Atlantic City, and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) draws large crowds as well. Online gambling is also allowed in Atlantic City. Overall, the casinos and gambling interests in Atlantic City bring in about $4 billion a year in gambling revenue and pay the state about $300 million in taxes. Gambling in Atlantic City employs about 30,000 people and has close to 30 million visitors annually.

40th Anniversary Events and Activities

For the 40th anniversary of casino gambling in Atlantic City, many musical and comedy acts are performing: ZZ Top, Kevin Hart, the Village People, John Fogarty, and Kenny Loggins are some of the entertainers who are performing during the 40th anniversary celebrations this summer. Many of the casinos are holding 70s-themed parties and events to reflect the era that casino gambling came to Atlantic City. Celebrations are going to be especially plentiful during Memorial Day weekend, which represents the time period the first casino opened forty years ago in the town.

In addition to attending the different events at casinos, visitors can also take advantage of other activities in the town. The Boardwalk, which was reconstructed after Hurricane Sandy, offers a county fair atmosphere. The town also offers shopping and dining venues. Visitors can shop and dine in upscale locations as well as at outlet malls. Surfers often flock to Atlantic City because the waves are usually excellent for surfing. Atlantic City also boasts fine dining and spa services. The 40th anniversary of Atlantic City boasts something for everyone, whether they enjoy gambling, or they would rather spend the day at the beach or the boardwalk.


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