January 20, 2010

New Jersey Rolls Snake Eyes

So New Jersey is thinking about legalizing the online casino by allowing the likes of Bally's and the Borgata to allow gamblers to partake in virtual versions of poker and blackjack and the like through websites administered onsite in Atlantic City. Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford says he supports this idea - and I think he's nuts.

I've got no issue with the concept of allowing online gambling in theory, but what irks me is the fact that most of these casinos are crying poverty and that they are (get this) losing money due to the economy and competition from neighboring states who have opened up casinos of their own.

First of all, they're not "losing money" by any stretch of the imagination. They talk a good game - "Revenues fell 13% last year! Poor us!" I'd love to be in a business where a $3.9 billion profit is considered losing money. Maybe they're not making as much as they have in the past, but making money they certainly continue to do.

Secondly, if your primary concern was really that you're having trouble luring customers to your venues, then why provide a reason for more people to stay at home and not make the trip to gamble? As someone who has worked in the Atlantic City casinos, I can tell you the reason more people don't make the trip anymore is that there's no real effort to draw people in.

The casinos are sterile buildings with no character at all. Concept casinos like "The Wild West" at Bally's may have been cool when it opened, but now most of the "animatronics" no longer work, and the place is full of tumbleweeds. The powers-that-be simply don't care.

How about an 80's themed casino? How about a goth casino? How about something to see on the main strip of town (Atlantic Avenue) other than a porn shop with an allegedly "alluring picture" of a woman who looks like Brett Summers from Match Game?

How about something like this...

The answer isn't giving people yet another excuse to not make the trip. The answer is giving them something that makes them want to leave their laptops behind. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas... but what happens on a computer screen in somebody's home brings no money to the local economy. The profits that it generates will simply stay in the pockets of the executives, who themselves find very few reasons to ever visit Atlantic City themselves.


  1. I went to AC once for a bachelor party and was STUNNED by how seedy, busted up and broken down it seems. None of us wanted to even walk around from place to place. It felt like Coney Island in Requiem For A Dream.

    Compare that with Vegas, and it's not too hard to understand why AC is going south, fast.

  2. I have to agree with you. I would love to only make billions of dollars and then complain about being broke. I love the goth themed casino idea.