On Monday, the nation’s newspaper of record asked, “Can Sports Betting Do for Atlantic City What Donald Trump Couldn’t?”
The New York Times knows its reader base, we’ll give them that. Any shot at Trump is a good one, particularly as it pertains to Atlantic City, New Jersey. As has been beat into the ground, Trump didn’t exactly crush the casino business.
So can sports betting help revitalize Atlantic City?
In short, the NYT believes the answer is “yes.”
Betting bringing business
Listen, sports betting can’t solve all of Atlantic City’s problems. If I listed all of those aforementioned problems, I’d double the word count and pay rate of this column.
Regardless, with the Borgata accepting bets as of mid-June and other casinos rushing to get ready [for something they should’ve been prepared for months ago], sports betting will surely draw more foot traffic down the boardwalk and onto the gaming floor.
While summer business is usually solid, it’s the winter months that are more barren. Being able to keep casinos filled during NFL season and March Madness will help boost gaming-related employment as well as assisting activity for businesses around the city.
More business means more jobs for residents in Atlantic City. It also means more investment and venture money coming into Atlantic City.
If you build it, will they come?
The Hard Rock has set up shop in Atlantic City already, investing $500M+ to turn the Trump Taj Mahal into an entertainment and music-focused resort. And the Borgata is already advertising that they’re taking bets, creating a “vibrancy” stated in the article that Atlantic City hasn’t had for a long time.
Perception is reality. Making Atlantic City seem anything other than depressing and desolate is a huge victory in and of itself. It only takes a spark to start a fire.
I’m personally rooting for the turnaround. My first gambling experience was in Atlantic City as a 19-year-old with a fake ID in one of those shuttered Trump casinos. While I didn’t experience an Atlantic City level of success like “No Home Jerome” – I was doing well before getting kicked out. Atlantic City didn’t have the stigma attached to it then as it does now. It can be a destination again. If sports betting helps speed the path for that to happen, it’s a great thing for New Jersey and for gaming in general.