From the WSJ:
Two years after plummeting gambling revenue nearly tipped this seaside resort into bankruptcy, two new casinos are opening on the boardwalk.
The casinos, which have hired more than 7,000 workers in total, are scheduled to open their doors on Thursday. Atlantic City officials and business leaders cheered the new jobs, while pointing to investments by a local university and gas company that they said show the gambling-dependent economy is finally starting to hedge its bets.
“The vibe is so positive,” said Debra DiLorenzo, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think that having nine casinos again, we’ll be just fine.”
At one end of Atlantic City’s boardwalk, Colorado developer Bruce Deifik is opening Ocean Resort Casino in the 6.4-million-square-foot complex formerly known as Revel Hotel and Casino, a $2.4 billion casino that opened in 2012 and entered bankruptcy twice before closing after two years. Nearby, Hard Rock International has spent $500 million renovating, “de-theming” and redecorating the closed Taj Mahal casino once owned by President Donald Trump, according to chairman Jim Allen.
The new casinos follow a turbulent period for Atlantic City’s economy. The city’s decadeslong monopoly on East Coast gambling crumbled after new casinos opened in neighboring states, and gambling revenue fell to $2.4 billion in 2015 compared with $5.2 billion in 2006, according to state records.
Four of the city’s 12 casinos closed in 2014, and a fifth shut its doors two years ago. In all, nearly 11,000 workers were laid off, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The decline in casino revenue and five closures decimated the city’s tax base and strained its budget. Atlantic City avoided municipal bankruptcy when the state seized control of the city’s finances and operations in 2016, a move that was unpopular with local officials and residents.
Today, the Atlantic City casino industry appears to be stabilizing, with gambling revenue increasing to about $2.7 billion last year, according to New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement records. Mr. Allen said he was particularly encouraged by the 23.7% increase in the remaining casinos’ gross operating profit last year, to $723 million.