ATLANTIC CITY IS DOOMED — But It's Still A Fun Place To Visit!

Megan Willett

These are hard times for Atlantic City, which recently recorded its sixth consecutive year of falling gambling revenues and saw an ambitious new casino prepare for bankruptcy.

You can blame the economic downturn as well as the rise of competing casinos in neighboring states.

Hurricane Sandy didn't help either. The casinos were ordered to remain closed for almost five full days, and lost an estimated $5 million in gambling revenue combined each day.

But you know what? The "World's Playground" is still an awesome place to visit, with plenty of exciting new attractions aimed at targeting leisure travelers instead of gamblers, andrevitalizing its boardwalk. Atlantic City is also getting buzz from HBO's hit show, Boardwalk Empire.

Atlantic City is huge, but most people only think about the boardwalk and pier.

It reached its boom period in the 1920s thanks to prohibition and illegal gambling — it even called itself the World's Playground.

Source: Press of Atlantic City

The '20s were so glamorous that they are even the subject of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, starring Steve Buscemi as the political boss and racketeer Enoch "Nucky" Thompson.

Source: HBO

AC didn't see a popularity resurgence again until the 1970s when New Jersey made gambling legal to help the city.

Source: Atlantic City Free Public Library

Today, Atlantic City is still best known for its casinos and boardwalk, but it faces a lot of competition from neighboring states, especially Pennsylvania.

Source: Economist

Now, AC is trying to market itself more as a luxury destination for travelers and a place for young people to party.

Source: Business Insider

It's super easy to get there — you can take a bus from New York's Port Authority station down to AC for $40 roundtrip, or book a train from Philadelphia or New Jersey.

Source: New Jersey Transit

Attractions include the Trump Taj Mahal, home to the Casbah Nightclub and the Hard Rock Cafe.

Source: Trump Taj Mahal

We'll admit it looks a little grim on the inside — which may be why the owner is open to selling the property.

Source: AP

The Tropicana Resort and Casino has some of the best food on the boardwalk with restaurants FIN and Il Verdi.

Source: AP

It's also no longer in bankruptcy court after being bought by billionaire Carl Icahn for $200 million.

Source: AP

Revel opened last year as an entertainment destination with a spa, two nightclubs, and a killer burlesque club. It even has a stretch of beach named after it.

Source: Revel

Despite $1.5 billion in debt and plans to go into bankruptcy, the casino will remain open by giving creditors a greater equity stake in the casino and reducing their debt.

Source: Business Insider

Trump Plaza has become a staple on the boardwalk ever since it opened in 1984 because of its huge casino floor.

Source: AP

However, it was recently sold for the low, low price of $20 million to the Meruelo Group (the cheapest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City).

Source: AP

And it's not all bad news for the city — The POOL at Harrah's Resort is the 11th highest grossing nightclub in America!

Source: Eater

The hotel pool, which turns into a club at night, rakes in $25-$35 million in profits each year.

Source: Eater

If you're into the tourist scene, Atlantic City Absecon Lighthouse was first lit in 1857 and only costs $7 to climb.

Source: Absecon Lighthouse

To drum up more tourism and help supplement Sandy relief efforts, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is going to build a park around the lighthouse.

Source: The Atlantic Cities

Golden Nugget — originally the Trump Marina — has been enlivened with eight restaurants, a spa, and two huge venues for live entertainment.

Source: Golden Nugget

Chef Vola's is a cult-favorite in Atlantic City since 1921 for its fresh Italian food.

Source: Eater

For those who prefer shopping to gambling, AC's downtown area is home to a sprawling outdoor outlet mall, with stores like J. Crew, Coach, and Brooks Brothers.

Borgata Hotel is known as the Bellagio of the East Coast, and is still one of its top grossing casino/hotels.

Source: Press of Atlantic City

As of this month, The Borgata allows lazy guests to gamble up to $2,500 in cash over hotel room TVs. How fun is that?

Source: The NY Daily News

After getting hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, Steel Pier will be re-opening with the help of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Source: The Atlantic Cities

The city is continuing to work on plans to make the 100-year-old pier a year-round water park attraction.

Source: The Atlantic Cities

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City lost the Miss America Pageant in 2005 to Las Vegas after labor costs ran too high.

Source: Press of Atlantic City

But the pretty girls and tiaras will be returning to the boardwalk this year, bringing a much-needed influx in revenue and media attention to the area.

Source: Press of Atlantic City

Now let's break down why AC's Revel is struggling.

The Epic Downfall Of The Casino That Was Supposed To Save Atlantic City >

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