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Atlantic City Getting Back on Top

22 April 2002

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal: "With a new casino under construction and various attractions, Atlantic City is hopeful for revitalization and some much-needed new visitors.

"For the first time in more than a decade -- since the 1990 opening of the Trump Taj Mahal -- there will be an addition to the casino skyline.

"The $1 billion Borgata casino, a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming Corp., will open in summer 2003.

"…Many are hoping the Borgata gives the city's casino industry a jolt. It could use it.

"Last year, four of the 12 casinos in Atlantic City saw a dip in casino winnings, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal's list of the largest casinos in Atlantic City. Another three had winnings growth of 3.2 percent or less.

"…There are two schools of thought on how the new casino will be viewed.

"One school argues that a new casino will bring new visitors and enrich everyone. The other school says there's already too much competition among casinos in Atlantic City.

"Casinos are weathering increased threats from Native American casinos, riverboat gambling boats and other casino venues. The Foxwoods casino in Connecticut has drawn some of the New Yorkers and other traditional gaming base from Atlantic City.

"…Like the Native American venues, Atlantic City has benefited from the public's reluctance to fly. Instead of flying to its chief rival, Las Vegas, Atlantic City has seen people in the Northeast making the easier trek there and to Foxwoods. The mild winter also helped draw people to Atlantic City.

"But Atlantic City also knows it has to remain wary of competition. It has taken several steps to increase the number of visitors.

"Atlantic City gets 33 million visitors a year, many of whom arrive by tour bus or car. To ease the traffic, the city recently opened the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector, linking the Atlantic City Expressway to the Marina District, which will include the new Borgata.

"…The Reinvestment Development Authority has a war chest casino tax that it has used to revitalize rundown neighborhoods and stimulate visitorship to the city. It recently completed the modern-looking Atlantic City Visitors Center, for example.

"The city also heavily promotes itself as a convention-and-meeting spot. It opened the 500,000-square-foot Atlantic City Convention Center in 1997 to try to lure more of that business…"

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