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Whether you plan to spend a day, unwind during an overnight getaway in a luxurious casino resort or take advantage of a week of the fun-filled events and activities the seaside resort offers, it’s always a great time to visit Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the action is always turned on for you.

Atlantic City hosts more than 24 million annual visitors who cash in on the action of 7 dazzling casino resorts with 24-hour gaming excitement, headline entertainment, and gourmet dining. Their spectacle of lights, décor and action are a dazzling backdrop against the world famous Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean as well as the bay side of the city.

The casinos aren’t the only game in town. The seaside resort offers something for everyone, whatever the taste and budget, including action-packed sporting events, unique clubs, 24-hour bars and public shows featuring everything from antiques and collectibles to powerboats, sailboats, and classic cars.

Gambling in Atlantic City

Gambling in Atlantic City became legal in 1976 after New Jersey voters approved a referendum similar to one that had failed two years earlier. Resorts International Casino was the first legal casino in the eastern United States when it opened on May 26, 1978, beating competitors by converting existing buildings formerly known as Chalfonte-Haddon Hall rather than building from the ground up.

At its peak, Atlantic City was home to 12 casinos, and in 2006 the city's casinos made a haul of $5,217,613,000 in gross gaming revenue (GGR). The Las Vegas Strip took in about $6.7b that year, and Macau posted over $7b - dropping Las Vegas and Atlantic City to second and third place in the world respectively in terms of gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Atlantic City's GGR had dropped to $2.41b by 2015. Part of that drop was due to the closure of four casinos in 2014, but according to PwC's Global Gaming Outlook 2011, revenues were already down to $3.57b by 2010. The descent continued through 2015 with revenues reaching a low of $2.53b

The cascading revenues are not fully attributable to the recession, which Las Vegas has recovered from. A look at the proliferation of casinos and racinos within a 200-mile radius of Atlantic City explains it better. People in outlying areas simply preferred to stay closer to home once they had the opportunity.

On December 20, 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to award five stand-alone casino licenses in the state - the nearest was for SugarHouse in Philadelphia, which opened in 2010. Sands Bethlehem opened in 2009 and added table games in 2010. Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy casino resorts keep people in the Scranton area from traveling far, and Hollywood Casino at Penn National opened near Harrisburg effectively closing that more rural market to the great city. Even further away, in Pittsburgh,  Rivers Casino opened in 2009 which eliminated a good portion of overnight visitors from that area.

Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway opened in 2006 and Resorts World NYC opened in 2011.

Horseshoe Baltimore opened in 2014 sapping more of the tourist market and several tribal casinos have opened within an easy day's drive of Atlantic City further stressing the market since the 2006 heyday.

Although the overall casino win has dropped every year for a decade, individual casinos, except Trump Taj Mahal which closed on October 10, 2016, saw a renaissance with the closure of Showboat, The Atlantic Club, Trump Plaza, and Revel in 2014. The city currently has seven casinos in operation with a rebirth of the failed $2.2 billion Revel expected in Q12017 to bring the number back to 8. Glenn Straub purchased the property for $82 million in 2015 and will rename it TEN.

New jersey voters will decide on November 8, 2016, if they want to amend the constitution to allow two casinos to open 72 miles or more from Atlantic City. The most recent polls show dwindling support for the referendum. If passed, it would allow current Atlantic City operators up to 6 months to submit plans for the casinos, each must be worth at least $1 billion.

If that deadline passes, entities outside of the city could apply. Jeff Gural wants to develop a Hard Rock facility at his East Rutherford race track, and Reebok founder Paul Fireman intends to invest $4 billion in his Liberty Rising concept across the Upper Bay from Lower Manhattan. Both have said they will try again in two years if the ballot measure fails. The casinos of Atlantic City would receive subsidies based on profits of the new casinos. It's still unclear how or if the North Jersey casinos would affect the city's industry in the long run.

Atlantic City casino online operations

Atlantic City operators have been able to win online gaming licenses for players located anywhere within the state since 2013. December 2013 was the first full month of online casino action in New Jersey and by the end of 2015, the sector was responsible for 5.81% of the total casino win with $148,880,000 in revenues according to data from New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Online casinos broke records for six out of seven months to start 2016 and by August, the latest numbers available from the regulator, online casino had posted up numbers that pointed to a record year.

The top performing operators in the online sector since launching are Borgata (Party NJ) Caesars/Harrah's (888) and Tropicana (Virgin). Resorts had made $19.76m by end August with Golden Nugget posting $25.9m after launching a live dealer online casino earlier in the month. Borgata is also the market leader for land-based business with slightly more than twice the land based revenue of their closest competitor, Harrah's.

The casino resorts of Atlantic City

All Atlantic City casinos are located on the premises of hotels with at least 500 rooms. According to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) 2005 was the peak year for visits with 34,924,000 people entering the city. 2015 saw about 25.5 million visits with only about 1% of them coming in by air, 5% by casino bus, and 22.4m arriving by car. The balance came in by charter bus and rail.

CRDA and Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority charts are curiously bereft of data relating to hotel occupancy rates. However, quarterly financials from the DGE show that for the quarter ended June 30, 2016, Caesars lead the market with 97% occupancy and the now closed Trump Taj Mahal had only 63.8%. Bally's AC and Borgata reported 90.8% and 90.7% respectively. The DGE reported a total room count between the seven remaining casinos of 11,489 as of 8-22-2016.

In general, January, February, October, November, and December are the least visited months - while June, July, and August are the most visited. New Years, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekends are always the busiest. The weather can be tolerable March through May before the Memorial Day crowds begin to arrive and of course, airfare and hotels rates decrease while comps can increase in the three months following summer, with the best rates beginning in December.

Casino gaming in Atlantic City

Borgata is the most successful casino in Atlantic City showing more revenue on tables, slots, and poker than any other. In fact, they regularly post up greater total gaming revenue than their next two closest competitors combined. Borgata is now wholly owned by MGM after an early summer 2016 buyout of Boyd Gaming's half interest for $900 million.

The 161,000 sq ft casino floor offers about 4,000 slots and 180 gaming tables with nearly 20 different games from blackjack and roulette to baccarat and Pai Gow poker. The poker room is separate from the mass casino floor and offers about 50 tables spreading Hold'Em, Stud, Omaha, and more.

Premiere Nightclub, Gypsy Bar, and the Borgata Beer Garden are the most popular venues but Borgata offers twelve different bar concepts.

Harrah's Atlantic City is another popular casino resort which opened in in the marina district in 1980 and saw its latest renovation completed in 2008. Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center’s 125,000 square foot meeting space expansion was completed in August 2015. The hotel has four towers with over 2,500 rooms. In September 2013 Caesars announced plans for a $30m renovation of the 450 rooms and suites in the Bayview Tower.

The waterfront casino has 160,000 sq ft of gaming space with about 2,700 slot and video poker machines and 139 gaming tables. The 40 table poker room, located next to the cafe on the first level of the casino is home to daily tournaments and yearly WSOP Circuit Events.

Harrah's offers six bars including one they have dubbed, "#BarWithNoName" next to the VIP registration area. 

Tropicana Atlantic City finishes up the "Top 3 list" in a near tie with Harrah's. This Carl Icahn owned property opened in 1981 and was partially renovated last in 2015. The casino was built on the steel framework of an old mobster hangout, the Ambassador Hotel. The Tropicana now offers over 2,000 hotel rooms.

The boardwalk casino offers nearly 124,000 sq ft of gaming space with about 3,000 slots and 135 gaming tables. The full-service Trop Poker Club is open 24 hours and features 22 tables.

The Tropicana offers about 15 party zones from the 70’s & 80’s dance club, Boogie Nights to the stylish and trendy Anthem. Many of them also serve food, such as the 16,000 sq ft Chickies & Petes Crab House.

Caesar's Atlantic City opened in 1979 and was last renovated in 2008 when a new hotel tower was added and the Roman Empire theme was extended to the exterior, replacing the original art deco style of this boardwalk casino hotel with 1,140 rooms and 30,000 sq ft of meeting space.

The gaming floor covers 145,000 sq ft, and while there is no poker room, the casino offers over 2,000 slots and more than 175 gaming tables.

The Circus Maximus Theater seats up to 1,500 guests for concerts and special events and there are about fourteen dining options and four bars/lounges included Retro's and Dusk Nightclub.

Bally's Atlantic City opened in 1979 as Bally's Park Place. Although the Claridge Tower casino closed in 2012 and the Claridge Hotel was sold in 2013, between the main casino and Wild Wild West, there is still over 200,000 sq ft of gaming space with more than 5,000 slot machines and over 200 gaming tables. The WSOP Poker Room at Bally’s features 42 tables and room for up to 80 during large tournaments. The room offers tournaments daily except Wednesdays. The hotel at Bally's has 1,251 rooms.

The casino offers 10 casual and quick bite dining options along with the upscale Guy Fieri's Chophouse. There are also six watering holes with the Broadway Saloon at Wild Wild West which opened in 2016.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City opened in 1985 as Trump Castle and later became known as Trump Marina. Landry's bought the casino in 2011 and spent spend nearly four times as much on renovations as it paid for the property. The hotel offers 727 rooms and suites.

The casino space covers over 74,000 sq ft with 1,500 slots and about 80 gaming tables. There is also a small poker room with 10 tables, cash games, and tournaments. As of late 2016, Golden Nugget was the only regulated online casino in the U.S. to offer live dealer gaming online.

In addition to the world famous Landry's Chart House and other high-end and casual eateries, Golden Nugget offers an active nightlife scene, sometimes bundling cover charges so revelers can experience several venues with a single ticket.

Resorts Casino Hotel was the first casino to open in Atlantic City on May 26, 1978. The property has undergone three renovations, the last in 2011. Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, operator of the Mohegan Sun in CT., has managed the hotel and casino since 2012. The hotel has two towers with 942 rooms.

Casino play occurs over 100,000 sq ft of gaming space offering about 2,500 slots and 90 tables. Resorts offers some of the highest limits in town. Although there is no live poker room on site, visitors can play on PokerStars with a Resorts online account while at the casino, hotel, or anywhere within the borders of the state.

In addition to several casual dining options such as Margaritaville, Resorts offers four fine dining options, live entertainment, revue shows, and half a dozen bars including one on the Boardwalk.

TEN Atlantic City is expected to open in the former Revel sometime in early 2017.

Atlantic City visitor profile

According to the 2013 AC Visitor Profile Study by Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, & Tourism at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey - after surveying nearly 700 adults who travel up to 200 miles to visit Atlantic City, the following "average visitor" profile emerges with only the highest percentages reported here.

34% were between the ages of 50 and 64, 76% were white, 37% had household incomes between $50-100k, 93% said they had been to Atlantic City before, 51% said they had visited once or twice in the last year, 38% stated they came for a vacation - swapping top spot on the chart with those who came to gamble the year prior, 25% said they planned their trip 1-2 weeks in advance, 61% said they didn't use the internet to plan, 81% visited the Boardwalk, 58% of respondents said they stayed one or two days (tie 29% each) 70% stayed at a casino hotel, 57% lodged in a Boardwalk property, 49% said there were two in their party.

82% of visitors surveyed traveled without children, 29% arrived on a Friday, 47% said they gambled and of those, two hours was the most highly reported time spent gambling, 65% of gamblers played slots with a gambling budget of $50 or less, 42% gambled at Caesars, and 71% indicated there was a very high likelihood they would return to Atlantic City.

This article was written by Lars Jones and is the intellectual property of World Casino Directory.  Reproduction of this article in full is strictly forbidden.  You may use small snippets as long as you link back to the original source with trust. Data compiled from various sources as cited. The preferred citation for some 2015 and historic data is - David G. Schwartz. Atlantic City Gaming Revenue: Statistics for Casino, Slot, and Table Win, 1978-2015. Las Vegas: Center for Gaming Research, University Libraries, University of Nevada Las Vegas,2016

Atlantic City, New Jersey has 10 casinos in which you'll find more than 18,018 slots and gaming machines. There are a total of 1097 table games. The minimum bet we've found at casinos in Atlantic City is $0 and the maxium bet is $50,000. Click a casino on the left for more information on a particular property.

There is poker in Atlantic City! You will find over 173 live poker tables to play at. You will find the following games in Atlantic City casinos: NL Texas Hold'em, Stud, Limit Holdem, NL Holdem, PLO - 9, 7 Card Stud, Omaha 8 or Better, Texas Hold'em, Mixed Games, Omaha, Pot Limit Hold 'Em, Tournaments. Some Atlantic City casinos also offer convention centers and meeting spaces. Over the entire town, you will find a total of 870,000 conference sq/ft space in the various casino properties.

Largest Casinos in Atlantic City

The largest casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey according to gaming machines and table games put together, is Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa total casino square footage is 161,000 square feet. It has 2549 gaming machines and 176 tables games. You will also find 52 poker tables and 10 restaurants.

You can contact the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa at (609) 317-1000 or toll-free at (866) 692-6742. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is located at 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, USA.

Visit the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa information page for more details on this casino, or click here to make hotel reservations. Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa has a total of 2800 hotel rooms available.

The second largest casino in Atlantic City would be Resorts Casino Hotel with 2576 gaming machines / table games. The Resorts Casino Hotel has a total casino square footage of 100,000 square feet. There is a hotel with 942 hotel rooms available. If you wish to make lodging accommodations at Resorts Casino Hotel, please visit the Resorts Casino Hotel information page for more details.

History of gambling / casinos in Atlantic City

Atlantic City today is famous for a number of things, from the boardwalks to the resort-city image to the casinos. However, there is a lot of history attached to the city, and we would do well to take a very brief look at it before talking about the history of gambling in the city.

The home to Atlantic City is Absecon Island, whose original inhabitants were the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The Indians gave it to the English as part of a claim settlement in the 1670s. Jeremiah Leeds built the first permanent structure in 1785 and he, along with his family, were the first inhabitants of Atlantic City. The first tourists landed up in the city way back in 1854, thanks to the railroad. Soon after, in 1870, the first road connecting the island to the mainland was built and there has been no looking back since.

The city has a number of tourist attractions, one of the biggest being the casinos. Innovative marketing and the innate charm of the casinos have helped make Atlantic City a must-see place for gaming enthusiasts. Today, it remains the top casino destination outside of Nevada in the US despite competition from other casino venues that have opened throughout the US.

Gambling in Atlantic City

Atlantic City is the perfect haven for the gambling enthusiast. The city has 11 casinos set along the beachfront and another 5 casinos located elsewhere in the city. The phenomenon that is Atlantic City today started in 1978. That was the year the Resorts International Casino opened. Resorts International was the first casino in Atlantic City. It is open till today, though it does not have live poker on its roster of games any longer.

So what caused gambling to take off in Atlantic City and make it as popular as it is today? For starters, when the casinos first opened in Atlantic City, it was the only place outside Nevada where gambling was legalized. This was one of the major factors influencing the mushrooming of the casinos here. Let’s take a look at some of the top casinos in the city.

Some Top Casinos in Atlantic City

The Atlantic City Hilton - one of the top casinos in Atlantic City is the Atlantic City Hilton. The casino opened in 1980, and started out as a luxury casino hotel. The hotel is known for world-class dining, entertainment, and non-stop casino action. Besides, it offers the standard fare available at casinos – Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, and Baccarat. It has two separate rooms for Poker and Asian games on the second floor and more than 300 new slot machines.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort - another major casino in Atlantic City is the Tropicana Casino and Resort. The current version of the Tropicana Casino and Resort was started in 1981 and is the largest hotel not just in Atlantic City, but in New Jersey as well, with more than 2,100 rooms. The casino has close to 150,000 sq ft in casino space, split into numerous segments.

Update: As of Dec 12, 2007, the casino has been denied its license by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, just the second time in casino history that a license renewal has been rejected. The casino is now under the supervision of Gary Stein, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey State Supreme Court. Under his supervision, the resort and casino would continue to remain open until the courts reach a final decision.

The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa - this is one of the newer casinos in the city and was started in 2003, and currently features on the World Poker Tour. It has more than 161,000 sq ft of casino space, 2000 rooms, more than 4,100 slot machines, and 200 table games. Here, you can play Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Racebook, Pai Gow tiles, and also Sic Bo. The Poker Room at the Borgata has more than 85 tables, making it the biggest in Atlantic City. It has been credited with the revival of the casinos in Atlantic City.

The Trump Connection in Atlantic City

Another person who contributed to the changing casino scene in Atlantic City is Donald Trump, the real estate mogul. Trump came to Atlantic City in the 1980s, and built his first casino in the city in 1984. Today, there are 3 Trump casino hotels in Atlantic City – the Trump Marina Resort, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Trump Taj Mahal.

The Trump Marina has received a Five Diamond rating and is one of just 100 hotels worldwide to have this honor. The casino has more than 90 table games and more than 200 slot machines, while the Trump Taj Mahal, which is modeled on the Taj Mahal in India, has been voted the best casino by the readers of Casino Player magazine. At the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, you can relax at the tables playing Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Baccarat, or try out the slots. You also have the option of playing exotic fare like Pai Gow poker or tiles.

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Atlantic City Casino Stats

Casinos: 10
Sportsbetting Parlours: 10
Casino Hotels:16
Restaurants: 157
Table games:1,097
Slot machines:18,018
Poker tables: 173
Minimum Bet:$0
Maximum Bet:$50,000
Total Casino sq/ft:1,106,790 sq/ft
Total Convention sq/ft:870,000 sq/ft
Governed by: New Jersey Casino Control Commission
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