Skip to comments.The next Detroit? Atlantic City and Las Vegas facing catastrophic collapse
Posted on 12/22/2013 4:40:30 PM PST by RKBA Democrat
With the closure of the recent Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, rumors of the bankrupt Revel being sold to Hard Rock, Las Vegas real estate prices remaining depressed, casinos opening up all around the country and online gambling legislation underway in various states, it seems as if the reasons for the very existence of Atlantic City and Las Vegas are in serious jeopardy.
Beginning in the late 1940s, Las Vegas became known as the 'adult playground of the world.' Celebrities knew they made the big time when their names graced the billboards of Sin City. Gamblers hoping to make money would flock there all year and families looking for a nice getaway would enjoy relaxing by the extravagant swimming pools under the hot desert sun, seeing the various shows and concerts, and whenever possible, sneaking away to the blackjack tables while their kids slept.
It was paradise.
On the other hand, Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast. Within a few decades, the city, known for being an oasis of sin during the prohibition era, fell into serious decline and dilapidation.
New Jersey officials felt the only way to bring Atlantic City back from the brink of disaster would be to legalize gambling. Atlantic Citys first casino, Resorts, first opened its doors in 1978. People stood shoulder to shoulder, packed into the hotel as gambling officially made its way to the East Coast. Folks in the East Coast didn't have to make a special trip all the way to Vegas in order to enjoy some craps, slots, roulette and more.
As time wore on, Atlantic City and Las Vegas became the premier gambling spots in the country.
While detractors felt that the area still remained poor and dilapidated, officials were quick to point out that the casinos didn't bring the mass gentrification to Atlantic City as much as they hoped but the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs for the surrounding communities was well worth it.
Atlantic City developed a reputation as more of a short-stay day-cation type of place, yet managed to stand firm against the 'adult playground' and 'entertainment capital of the world' Las Vegas.
Through-out the 1980s and 1990s, these two places would become an integral part of American pop culture as the place to gamble and have fun no matter which coast you lived at.
However in the late 1980s, a landmark ruling considered Native-American reservations to be sovereign entities not bound by state law. It was the first potential threat to the iron grip Atlantic City and Vegas had on the gambling and entertainment industry.
Huge 'mega casinos' were built on reservations that rivaled Atlantic City and Vegas. In turn, Vegas built even more impressive casinos.
Atlantic City, in an attempt to make the city more appealing to the big whale millionaire and billionaire gamblers, and in effort to move away from its seedy reputation, built the luxurious Borgata casino in 2003. Harrahs created a billion dollar extension and other casinos in the area went through serious renovations and re-branded themselves.
It seemed as if the bite that the Native American casinos took out of AC and Vegas profits was negligible and that the dominance of those two cities in the world of gambling would remain unchallenged.
Then Macau, formally a colony of Portugal, was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. The gambling industry there had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The monopoly was ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market.
Under the one country, two systems policy, the territory remained virtually unchanged aside from mega casinos popping up everywhere. All the rich whales from the far east had no reason anymore to go to Las Vegas to spend their money.
Then came their biggest threat.
As revenue from dog and horse racing tracks around the United States dried up, government officials needed a way to bring back jobs and revitalize the surrounding communities. Slot machines in race tracks started in Iowa in 1994 but took off in 2006 when Pennsylvania introduced Racinos in an effort to reduce property taxes for the state and to help depressed areas bounce back.
As of 2013, racinos are legal in ten states: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia
Tracks like Delaware Park and West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, once considered places where local degenerates bet on broken-down nags in claiming races, are now among the wealthiest tracks around, with the best races.
The famous Aqueduct race track in Queens, NY, once facing an uncertain future, now possesses the most profitable casino in the United States.
From June 2012 to June 2013, Aqueduct matched a quarter of Atlantic City's total gaming revenue from its dozen casinos: $729.2 million compared with A.C.'s $2.9 billion. It has taken an estimated 15 percent hit on New Jersey casino revenue and climbing.
And it isn't just Aqueduct that's taking business away from them. Atlantic City's closest major city, Philadelphia, only 35-40 minutes away, and one of the largest cities in America, now has a casino that has contributed heavily to the decline in gamers visiting the area.
The situation in Vegas isn't much better. The Great Recession of the late 2000s hit Las Vegas hard. As the recession wore on, and as gambling received approval in various jurisdictions throughout the United States, folks realized they didn't need to travel thousands of miles just to gamble.
Casino revenues and the price of real estate plummeted. Unemployment went as high as 14 percent, however unofficially, local officials said it may have been as high as 30 percent.
More than half of all home owners with a mortgage in the state of Nevada owe more than their homes are worth.
One local bought his condo in 2006 for $209,000, and as of 2013 it is worth barely $60,000.
As Las Vegas moved to market itself as purely an entertainment paradise, one local said The reality is, people just wont fly to the middle of a desert to play some slots, watch shows and sit down for some blackjack when they can drive right near their town or city, or play legally online.
And now it looks like the feds may soon allow online gambling across the United States.
Last May, the American Gaming Association called on Congress to enact federal legislation that would allow states to license and regulate online poker so Americans who play can do so safely using responsible, law-abiding operators. The Department of Justice made a decision that the Federal Wire Act only prohibits the transmission of communications relative to bets or wagers on sporting events or contests. It also clarifies that intrastate lottery tickets sold online are legal, so long as the lottery games do not involve sport wagering, even if the transmission crosses state lines.
Officials say this has opened up the possibility that online gambling may get approved on a federal level.
New Jersey is the third state in the U.S. to have authorized internet gambling. However, these online casinos are owned and controlled by Atlantic City casinos in an effort to boost profits in the face of fierce competition.
California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are hoping to join Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering online gambling to their residents.
Nevada also enacted modifications to their internet gambling law to allow for interstate compacts, among other provisions in hopes to draw higher stakes jackpots, similar to the Mega Millions and Power Ball lottery games that are played in multiple states.
With this in mind, it seems the niche that Las Vegas and Atlantic City once offered as a gambling and entertainment hub is heading toward the dustbin of history.
Time will tell if these two cities will end up like Detroit. However, the fact that they are losing their biggest industries to major competition, much like Detroit did, with depressed housing, casinos bankrupting/closing and businesses fleeing, makes their fate seem eerily similar.
been to Atlantic City too...don't like as much...not sure why...
my best place really is Deadwood...small old casinos...you can walk just a few yards from casino to casino...you have that warm dry breeze in the summer and good music from live bands ..you just can't beat it for having a relaxing time...
I've always said the way to destroy the billion dollar indian casino tax dodge is to have govt casinos everywhere.....I see NYS is getting into the business more and more..
You know the country is in the toilet when the states have to offer gambling to those of little intelligence for the state’s survival.
I got the impression that the Hip Hop Crowd was taking over Vegas.
Nevada will always have it’s prostitutes to fall back on.
But wait Canada just took away all laws pertaining to prostitution.
I have been to Las Vegas and I have been to Atlantic City.
The attitudes are entirely. They treat you nice in Las Vegas, and they just want you to leave your money and get out in Atlantic City.
Both cities run and infested with demorats. Just like dirt city.
***As time wore on, Atlantic City and Las Vegas became the premier gambling spots in the country. ***
Let’s not forget HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS! Illegal gambling everywhere till someone probably did not get their bribes and the gambling halls were closed down.
I’m givin 8 to 5 it will be Chicago.. :)
Really enjoyed Vegas in the 80s and 90s. Cheap drinks, food, and relatively easy to win $$ at the casinos. After 9/11, it really started to go downhill. It got much harder to win at the casinos, IMHO. I went to Vegas in 2012 and it was horrible. Food, even fast food, was very expensive. The hotels were still magnificent though—my favorite is the Bellagio. Overall, though, would agree its not worth it anymore.
Went to Atlantic City once a few years ago. Very depressing. The only people who seemed to be there were senior citizens.
In general, I find casinos very depressing places. Too many of the people there seem to have an air of desperation about them. Only in Vegas did they seem “fun”.
I think Internet gambling will be a disaster. Another way to suck $$ out of hapless people with no self control—which is most these daze.
AC is a filthy dump. Go a couple blocks in the wrong direction...
Las Vegas has 3 reality shows, Counting Cars, Pawn Stars, and American Restorations. The city is booming!
Never been to Vegas. Went to Atlantic City for a day back in ‘88. Everything looked glitzy, but in a cheap, superficial way. Little old bag ladies from New York playing the slots. Some asian guys at the crap tables giving some of our dollars back to the casino.
I bought some chips, played some slots, and in about 10 minutes they were gone. I recall wondering when the fun would start.
No desire to go back to a casino.
BS. The beach towns up and down the Jersey Shore have been popular destinations for my entire life. Nobody except gamblers go to Atlantic City because once off Pacific Ave. its a ghetto.
Demographics is destiny.
Bingo! Anyone who has ever been involved with a trade show in Vegas knows how heavy-handed the union thugs are. You can't even sweep the carpet in your booth without a Big Labor goon poised to break your arms. Unionism is nothing but slavery.
Then if you run out of money, you got the Freemont Street Experience north of the strip where you can hang out all night drinking $4 beers, eating deep fried Twinkies and playing slots with real coins like in the old days. It's gloriously low-rent - in a good way if you can imagine that.
I personally don't see Las Vegas going belly-up any time soon. Atlantic City and some of the depressing Indian and state-run casinos - yes.
Vegas in the ‘90’s liked it also. Did some gambling must have won some cause came back with about what I left with and saw Siegfried and Roy and the Harrah’s car collection and had a good time over all. Don’t mention it to the wife, I didn’t.
Went to the Bahama’s, I would not recommend. Lousy service.
Go across the river to Indiana and gambled a little never saw so many blue haired women outside a nursing home.
Like to watch the horses but bet on the jockeys.
Don’t get a kick out of gambling, win or lose. I must not be normal. Mainly like to watch the people that do.
I’m looking at Chicago for a big city to fall but there are a lot of smaller cities ready to tumble.
I can’t remember which but either Mobile Alabama or Jackson Mississippi recently elected a black nationalist mayor and promptly hired one of Detroit’s famed black nationalists. (Kwame Kenyatta) I’d say that city is gonna go down fast.
It certainly is the most deserving.
I love Deadwood too. I have a friend who’s family own Saloon # 10. The casino I like is the Midnight Star
This guy will be in charge before too long.
South Jersey is filled with retirement villages. The buses run all day back and forth to Atlantic City. I know from experience....my mother was one of those people on the bus. The city is a ghetto and don’t wander too far off the Boardwalk.
In the middle of a desert, there is no reason to make Las Vegas survive if it can’t do it itself. Gambling is the only reason it grew, and without that reason it’s a huge waste of energy and resources.
Unless they come up with something innovative that requires thousands of workers to make it go, Las Vegas’ days are numbered.
A new casino opened in Cincinnati. There are 2 more just a few miles away in Indiana and 2 race tracks are also within miles. My sense is that this area is now saturated. Why would they go elsewhere? It would be like visiting Vegas to go to a shopping mall.
The ultimate death knell for gambling as we know it is for voters to insist they’re adults and can play cards at home or at their local bar if they feel like it. IOW, TRUE legalized gambling....not the kind that makes a few well-heeled individuals richer and dumps dollars in state tax coffers.
Idiotic article because its entire theme is that “people don’t have to travel to Vegas.”
...except, the article doesn’t mention that Vegas tourism has increased from 32 Million in 2009 to 39 million tourists in 2013.
So much for the entire premise of the “article.”
Journalism for the lower half.
After we got Iphones, she started play free slots on the phone. Now, mother-in-law is playing, too, & no talk of going to the casinos.
The Iphone paid for itself in a couple of months of no casino trips.
I thought I was the only one. Probably it's all the racket and flashing lights -- can only take so much of that.
Jackson, Miss. Already pretty seedy.
IMO it was better when gambling was limited to AC and Las Vegas. You’d get better deals and everything was ‘special’. Now gambling is just a big form of the worst kind of tax. There’s not much fun in the indian casinos, especially on their 25% payout slots or whatever they want them to be.
At least when LV/AC had their advantage you could feel it in the air. Only been to AC once when I was a kid, but it wasn’t that awful. I could see maybe someplace like Shreveport being open too.
But putting casinos all over the place just takes the fun out of it and really makes the country a worse place overall. I’m pretty sure that expanded gambling in the last few decades hasn’t really made this country any better. Neither will more legalized and government involved drugs or prostitution. Downward spirals for all except the few casino owners and the politicians they pay off.
All I know is that the Las Vegas Club, downtown, is looking more and more like the Lucky 38.
“On the other hand, Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast.”
That implies that MOST east coast beach going folks who had always gone to east coast beeches, abandoned those beaches for airline trips (expensive then) to other states, MOST did not, so the premise that the growth of the airline industry caused the decline in Atlantic City and other east coast beaches seems nonsense to me.
MOST people who live near east coast beeches did not and do not rush to the airlines to get away to the beaches in other states, as part of their regular summer fair. Some do and most who do do so for certain occasions and not in general.
There were many factors in Atlantic City’s decline. I do not that travel by airlines was one of them.
I’ll sit at a neighborhood poker game once in a blue moon but I’ve never dropped a dime in a casino. No interest.
WELCOME TO VEGAS, MAKE YOU STAY A PEACEFUL ONE.
Yep, they are going to be needing those guys too to keep order.
I’ve been to a casino once in my life here in Michigan. I took $20 in and locked the rest in the car.
I was back on the road 20 minutes later.
I was amazed in Ohio when they ran the campaign to “legalize gambling” that their campaign was pretty much that adults should be able to gamble if they want to, and they don’t need a bunch of religious prudes telling them they can’t.
By “legalized” they meant giving 3 or 4 rich businesses the right to build casinos in our 3 or 4 largest cities.
When clear-thinking people tried to say, “OK, then let’s legalize adult gambling!” the media shills and plants for the state and the casinos went ballistic. Advocates of true legalized gambling were — this is the truth — called “anti-gambling pro-nanny staters.”
Nice pic of Las Vegas
Agree with your observations. I don’t see Vegas going belly up either. Even though I didn’t enjoy my last trip much, it was packed with people. Next time I go I’ll make it a point to get off the Strip and explore a bit more.
I have no use for the casinos here in Michigan either. They’re nothing but a source of lobbying money to crush the little guys. They were the primary source of money pushing for our smoking ban in bars yet made sure the law excluded businesses over 10,000 square feet.
The basic idea behind Atlantic City -- "Luxury casino resort and crime-infested urban slum, on the same island" hasn't worked anywhere, AFAIK. The only real solution to Atlantic City's problems is Reese Palley's -- bulldoze it, and start it over.
Over the years, we would say “hey, we haven’t been to Atlantic City in a really long while”, forgetting why, and on the next good weekend we head down to Atlantic City for the day.
Then, during the course of our visit, increasingly as the day went on, we’d rediscover that we really did not like Atlantic City at all, and we’d leave shortly thereafter.
Why we got “Atlantic City amnesia” from time to time, for a number of times (but no more) I never figured out, but eventually it stopped and we remembered not to go again, not to experience the same disappointment we always felt on our trips there.
The hypocrisy of politicians is stunning, and it's out in the wide open for people to see, but they go on voting with these idiotic ideas anyway. I'm at the point where "they get what they deserve" is really my thinking.
In Ohio you can't smoke in bars, but you can in private clubs. I expected the bars to rebrand as clubs with open enrollment. I haven't really monitored it.
At the little place my son used to play music, they enclosed their porch, added heat, and now "going outside to smoke" is simply going to "the porch". I have no idea why that passes muster, but it does.
I’ve always thought that if I went to Las Vegas, I would be struck by lightning. It just seems like a city that celebrates sin. Not that I am against gambling per se, but everything about Las Vegas seems to promote sin of one type or another.
Well, Nevadans, looks like ol’ Harry ain’t gonna’ be able to help you.
“I’ve always said the way to destroy the billion dollar indian casino tax dodge is to have govt casinos everywhere”
That’s another reason why the best bands you thought were extinct show up at big Indian casinos. I saw Pat benatar, Journey, Psychedelic Furs, Chicago etc at the Indian casinos in Socal no joke. From what was told to me, there is a tax loophole for artists to perform so they’re not embarrassed at all about the venue.
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