One of the most popular tourist destinations for gamblers in the United States of America, apart from Las Vegas, is Atlantic City, New Jersey, but it has not always been that way.
Like many of America’s east-coast cities, Atlantic City suffered from many problems in the mid to late 20th Century including a massive crime problem, poverty and disinvestment. In an attempt to revitalise the city, a referendum was put forward in 1974 to legalise gambling but his failed to be passed.
Just two years later and the New Jersey voters voted to approve casino gambling and when the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall hotel was converted into the Resorts International, opening on May 26, 1978, it became the first legal casino in the eastern United States. Within months more casinos opened their doors and as of today there are eleven of them competing for business in Atlantic City.
Legalising gambling did not completely solved the city’s problems, instead it highlighted big differences in investment from the poverty stricken urban areas to the glitzy and glamorous bay area where the casinos are all situated. Also, Atlantic City was in direct competition with Las Vegas who had been established many years before and had it not being for the Mafia related crime epidemic during the late 1970s and early 1980s in Vegas, Atlantic City’s ga,bling venture may have fallen flat.
However, in 2003, Atlantic City saw a casino resort built to rival that in Las Vegas. The $1.1bn Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa offers 2,802 room, 161,000 square feet of gaming floor space and is now the top grossing casino in Atlantic City. The vast floor space allows them to offer a wide range of games including Pai Gow, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and craps.
Although it makes the most of its money through its casino table games, the Borgata is probably better known for its 85-table poker room which hosts a World Poker Tour event each and every year and in 2009 attracted 1,018 entrants creating a prizepool of $3,359,400.