Atlantic City Bids Farewell To Three More Casinos

01 Sep 2014 | 04:14 Author: King, George

Online gambling will become more important for Atlantic City’s economy as Labor Day Weekend saw the beginning of three more casino closures and the loss of over 6000 jobs.

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion, one that celebrated America’s workforce, turned into a bitter-sweet moment as Atlantic City locals and visitors alike lined up to bid farewell to one of Atlantic City’s most endearing casinos as the Showboat casino closed its doors at 4pm on Saturday after being open for 27 years.

Even though the Revel is not set to close until Tuesday the 2nd of September, many took a moment to say goodbye during Labor Day Weekend. Families spent the day filming their descent down the casinos giant escalator as a final goodbye to the casino that was once heralded as the “eye-popping boost Atlantic City needed”.

As much as the many tourists will lament the closing of their favorite casinos, it’ll be the Atlantic City locals that will be suffering the most. As of October 2013, the Greater Atlantic City area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country with 13.8% of a total labor force of around 141 000 people.

With the loss of the Atlantic Club Hotel and Casino in January, the closure of the Showboat Casino, the Revel and the Trump Plaza in the middle of September, will see another 6000 layoffs, bringing the total amount to nearly 8000.

Such is the massive amount of employees being laid off, the Atlantic City Convention Center has set up a resource center for many of the workers who will need to file for unemployment. “8000 families in an 8 month window is an economic disaster” said a former casino employee, Ruthann Joyce.

Joyce, along with her husband, was hired as a bartender at the Showboat Casino nearly 30 years ago, “It’s a sad time in Atlantic City” she added. Joyce and her husband are among the lucky 470 employees that will be transferred to another site by the Showboat’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment. However she was very quick to point out that a transfer does not guarantee future employment.

“Being re-positioned within the company doesn’t guarantee you work. If you’re not working, you’re not getting a paycheck. If you’re not getting a paycheck, you’re still on unemployment”. As it stands, among the laid off employees and those that have been re-positioned many of them are already looking for new jobs.

Local and State leaders, all their rescue attempts in complete disarray, have begun to wonder if the City’s salvation lies within a return to its roots as a traditional seaside resort town or whether the online gambling industry will be able to generate enough to keep Atlantic City’s head above water.

George King
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