America’s third most popular land-based gaming hotspot, situated on the the famed boardwalk of Atlantic City, had a year that many city and state officials in New Jersey would rather forget. Four casinos shut down during the year, with a fifth teetering and continuing to be on shaky ground.
The casino closures of the Revel, Atlantic Club, Trump Plaza and Showboat put about 8,000 casino employees on the street. And revenue from the casinos still operating in the state was down for an eighth straight year.
But a new year approaching in a few days means it’s time to look ahead, as well as to right the ship, so to speak, of the Atlantic City gaming industry. Those optimists who look at certain situations as a glass half full rather than half empty might even say that the shutdowns were needed in order to better stabilize a saturated market.
So where does Atlantic City go from here? Well, there are a couple of bright spots that may be on the horizon. State officials continue to consider whether a new casino in the northern end of the state outside of Atlantic City would keep New Jerseyans from crossing the border to gamble in neighboring states.
Should such an endeavor eventually be approved, a percentage of profits would likely be funneled back to Atlantic City. Nearby states and their new casinos are the main reason why Atlantic City revenue has been decreasing, so turn around would be fair play.
Don’t forget that New Jersey is one of three states that offer regulated online poker and gambling. Though its igaming regime also underperformed in 2014, New Jersey sees a brighter future for 2015 and beyond.
That bright future may center around the world’s top poker site to turn things around. PokerStars is expected to eventually receive approval to operate online poker and gambling sites in New Jersey, which may also positively affect land-based gaming.
Remember that PokerStars promised to set up its America-based headquarters in New Jersey and open a poker room if gaming regulators approved the company’s purchase of the Atlantic Club. Well, that deal fell through and the new ownership of Amaya Gaming is now at the helm.
But there is a chance that the new owners of PokerStars may still base U.S. operations in New Jersey once the state’s gaming regulators give the nod to online gaming. That would be a tremendous boost to the economy of the Garden State.
And there are those who believe that with a foot in the door in the U.S. market, PokerStars would eventually still open a live poker room in Atlantic City. And perhaps even hang their name on the entrance to a casino in due course.
Only time will tell if those possibilities are realized. However, 2015 certainly can’t be as dismal for Atlantic City as 2014 was.