By Mary Alice Williams
It’s the news residents, workers and gamers were dreading. But now, the casino built to salvage Atlantic City as a gambling mecca is going, going and gone on Sept. 10.
In its two short years towering over the skyline, Revel never once turned a profit. Even in bankruptcy court with rock-bottom pricing it couldn’t find a buyer. The closing is another huge blow to the crumbling seaside resort. Three thousand one hundred more people will be thrown out of work. State Sen. James Whelan says this is the free market at work.
“Unfortunately the layoffs themselves as painful as they are, are the first wave this where small stores, mom and pop restaurants and so on that maybe have are going to have a dozen or so employees are going to cut down to six or seven,” he said.
Revel’s original owners billed it as a luxury resort that just happened to have a casino. They welcomed neither smokers nor busloads of day-trippers. In a year, they filed for bankruptcy. Revel’s next owners launched a glitzy ad campaign crying, “gamblers wanted.” That didn’t work. They filed for bankruptcy. Competitive pressures mounted from casinos in bordering states and from online gambling sites.
“As the philosopher Yogi Berra said, ‘If people don’t want to come you can’t stop them.’That’s what;s happening in Atlantic City. In the long term we have to redefine ourselves and hopefully we will be able to do that and if we do, there will be better days ahead. If we don’t, then we’re going to continue to struggle,” said Whelan.
Mayor Don Guardian says this may be Revel’s last chapter but not the last one for the building. His city started this year with 12 casinos. The Atlantic Club is gone. Showboat will close before Labor Day. Followed by Revel and Trump Plaza closing in mid-September.