I was a young Washington Post reporter when the first casino opened in the down-on-its-luck town of Atlantic City, NJ, 35 years ago. I was stunned at the long lines that waited to get in the Resorts International Hotel & Casino that first day. And the dozens of competitors that followed were meant to usher in a renaissance that would rescue Atlantic City.
That didn’t happen.
Visitors checked into the hotels with casinos, ate there, shopped there, but there wasn’t much trickle down of money to the town as a whole. Then the first casino opened in Pennsylvania in 2006, and it siphoned off gamblers who’d been going to Atlantic City for 30 years.
Casino and hotel revenue plunged, thousands of jobs were lost. Now one casino there is hoping a pricey strip club might boost business.
Yesterday the Trump Taj Mahal opened a $25 million branch of Scores, the New York City club that attracts sport stars, actors, and other big spenders. Total nudity and lap dances are prohibited. There are four strip clubs in town, but the Trump folks hope the safety and status of an in-property club will begin a rising tide that will lift all boats.
Call me skeptical.