Why do humans find such pleasure in torturing themselves? When
Over the past year or so, Atlantic City has gone from seedy to almost outright creepy. As you drift through the Trump Taj Mahal you’ll likely see ghosts sitting in the never-ending maze of slot machines atop 70s-style carpets. In Bally, the Old West theme may just present some real tumbleweeds flitting in front of the Jim Beam bar.
Back in the day, this section of the Jersey Shore served as a sanctuary to gambling enthusiasts from several surrounding states. People with money to lose (or money that they thought they could make grow exponentially) from the likes of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all flocked to AC because that’s where one had to go in order to gamble.
However, in 2009, New Yorkers and Pennsylvania inhabitants got another, nearby option—the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, right across the border from New Jersey. Parx Casino in Pennsylvania shortly followed (first just a racetrack, it got slots in 2009 and table games in 2010), after which Maryland got a 24-hour casino of its own. Maryland Live opened in July 2012 and started staying open all day, every day in December 2012.
Hence, Atlantic City’s current ghost town vibe, where all casinos house the tired and elderly, other than the single lively establishment remaining, the Borgata, where those of New York City’s poker playing set still go to make and lose some cash. As for the following, they now float among the city’s ghosts…
The giant, slanted building that looks like its name right next to the still extant Trump Taj Mahal is now completely vacant—which is really shocking when you imagine the hollow 60,000 square feet of former casino hulking above the boardwalk. Since it shut its doors in August 2014, the building’s been bought up by the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey to turn into an outpost away from their main campus.
The Trump name is all over Atlantic City, but the lights have gone dim in some of its lettering. The Trump Plaza closed quite recently, in September 2014, after 30 years operating as a casino and “luxury resort” on AC’s boardwalk. It housed the Rainforest Café and, like many AC establishments, a steakhouse. Talks of shutting down began in 2011, when Trump Entertainment Resorts made the decision to either sell or combine. No one ultimately wanted to combine…
The Revel got a lot of hype when it first opened up in April 2012. Dealers from the likes of the Borgata (the most visited, “high class” casino in Atlantic City) were considering moving over to work at Revel because it was going to be the next big thing. Just over two years later, it proved the buzz wrong, closing down in September 2014. It boasted one of the tallest buildings in the state of New Jersey and the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce performed in its entertainment venues.
Born the Atlantic City Hilton (or ACH) and renamed the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, this casino bid gamblers adieu in January 2014, though the owner filed for bankruptcy in November of 2013. Part of the aforementioned name change took place to attract lower-level gamblers, and penny slots throughout the casino allowed the lowest of rollers to stare at the glittering machines for hours on end.
Still operating as a landmark of a hotel (that to this day garners horrible reviews online), Claridge was initially known as Del Webb’s Claridge Hotel and Casino. It opened in 1930 (during the Great Depression), but gained a new casino in 1981 that spanned a few levels of the building, but never quite measured up to its vast gambling counterparts. Thus, the casino aspect ended a few years back, but now the hotel’s of thinking expanding in a way that won’t rely on the ever-dwindling supply of gamblers in town—by becoming a more stacked hotel (as in, maybe it will go for a really high-class spa, pool, fitness center combo–or an indoor theme park?).