When thinking about gambling the very first thing that comes to mind is Las Vegas. Although there are many casino destinations around the world, Vegas remains the symbol of fun and games. On the other side of the US, there is the capital of gambling on the East Coast, Atlantic City that at some point threatened to become a true gambling competition to the famous Sin City. However, as time passed, the skyline of Atlantic City became a bit dim while Vegas is still standing strong. Why is the city in the middle of the desert so appealing to the players like no other?
1. The history
Atlantic City is a relatively new gambling destination with casinos being legalized in 1976. Almost overnight casinos and hotels popped up across the city representing an alternative to Vegas. At the time, Nevada was the only other state that legalized gambling. Lack of history made Atlantic City just another place where you can spend the weekend playing cards which, at first, was quite enough for the crowds from the east part of the country to flock in large numbers.
On the other hand, Vegas was the capital of gambling more than a century ago driven by the newly-rich people who seized the opportunities of the gold rush. In the 1930s Las Vegas went through a big expansion making it a modern city at the time. Forty years later, in the 70s, luxurious hotels, resorts and casinos made Vegas the city we know today. Many mob stories began in Vegas, which piqued the interest of tourists for decades adding to the mysterious past of the city. Read more about Vegas’ rich history and learn where the term “sin city” comes from.
2. The location
Las Vegas may look like a city in the middle of nowhere, but it actually sits on the crossroads of major interstate highways which makes it hugely accessible to any passing traveler. Even though it’s surrounded by deserts where the climate is very dry and summer temperatures go well into the 100s of Fahrenheit, it still is attractive to the players and tourists.
Atlantic city sits on the Atlantic coast making it a perfect weekend getaway. In the beginning, it was the perfect spot for the young people to spend spring break or just have a fun time during the year and it quickly became the party capital of the East coast. However, this only lasted for a few years, and since the AC had no other activities developed at the time besides casinos and the beaches, the interest subsided and the crowds began to start looking for something more exciting. Further, Atlantic city is located in New Jersey which is often overlooked by tourists. Major highways lead mostly to New York City, leaving the Atlantic City in their rearview mirror.
The two cities may look similar, but in reality, they are very different. Nevada’s main industry is a tourism and every penny from the state’s budget is steered towards making Vegas more appealing to the travelers. The focus is not only on the casinos but on every other sort of entertainment that could potentially draw in the audience – from ultra-luxurious resorts, strip bars, concerts, and world-famous music shows of the biggest stars in the industry. On the other hand, New Jersey is not a tourist destination. The state does not invest much in entertainment which made Atlantic city just a gambling town. Additional attractions were overlooked and the people got bored quickly. This is a sad fact since the beautiful location of the AC could have been the main focus that could attract the audiences.
In the end, Nevada used its resources much wiser, while Atlantic City remained poorly developed and, as a consequence, fell behind in the race to become the main gambling spot in the country.
3. The size
Atlantic City never reached the heights of Las Vegas mostly due to its relatively small number of casinos – only about 10. For a city that wants to become the gambling capital, this is not much. The city officials tried to reinvent it in the past, but all efforts were futile and the city’s decline spiraled out of control. On the other side of the country, Las Vegas has more than 30 casinos, hotels, and resorts. Slot machines are everywhere, as well as ATMs, logically. Everything is open 24/7, people are buzzing on the streets at any hour and the entertainment never stops.
4. The negative reputation
With the visitors skipping the Atlantic city as the desirable destination, the city’s budget started to suffer. Tax dollars were not enough to support the economy making the infrastructure look like run-down slums. Interestingly, the residents of Atlantic City had no complaints, but many visitors did. It quickly gained the reputation of being infested with gangs leading to high rates of crime. Travelers were harsh in their reviews describing it as a dump and a hole, and the city’s reputation went down the drain. The idea of being the east coast gambling capital never took off and it was mostly crossed off of the tourists’ routes.
Las Vegas is the capital of gambling, but we can’t say that it’s the cleanest town in the country. Due to the high frequency of the people, Vegas also struggles with maintaining the infrastructure and hygiene at satisfactory levels. Still, is way better than its eastern competitor. As we mentioned, tourism is the main industry of the state so the officials are giving their best to make it appealing to the tourists. And, as we can see, with great success. Visitors almost always give it a high rating on the travel sites, while the residents are not so delighted by their hometown reputation. They do complain, but their outcries often fall on deaf ears. The state and the city officials are focused on keeping Las Vegas on the top of every tourist’s list with huge investments in the entertainment sector as well as the maintenance of the city’s development of infrastructure.