Atlantic City is a resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, famously known for its casinos, boardwalk and beach. It is the home of the Miss America Pageant. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 39,558, reflecting a decline of 959 (−2.4%) from the 40,517 counted in the 2000 U.S. Census, which had in turn increased by 2,531 (+6.7%) from the 37,986 counted in the 1990 U.S. Census.
The city was incorporated in 1854, the same year in which the Camden and Atlantic Railroad train service began.
By 1874, almost 500,000 passengers a year were coming to Atlantic City by rail.
After arriving in Atlantic City, a second train brought the visitors to the door of the resort’s first public lodging, the United States Hotel. The hotel was owned by the railroad. It was a sprawling, four-story structure built to house 2,000 guests. It opened while it was still under construction, with only one wing standing, and even that wasn’t completed. By year’s end, when it was fully constructed, the United States Hotel was not only the first hotel in Atlantic City but also the largest in the nation. Its rooms totaled more than 600, and its grounds covered some 14 acres.
The first boardwalk was built in 1870 along a portion of the beach in an effort to help hotel owners keep sand out of their lobbies.
By 1878, because of the growing popularity of the city, one railroad line could no longer keep up with demand. Soon, the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway was also constructed to transport tourists to Atlantic City. At this point massive hotels like The United States and Surf House, as well as smaller rooming houses, had sprung up all over town. The United States Hotel took up a full city block between Atlantic, Pacific, Delaware, and Maryland Avenues. These hotels were not only impre
During the early part of the 20th century, Atlantic City went through a radical building boom. Many of the modest boarding houses that dotted the boardwalk were replaced with large hotels
The 1920s, with tourism at its peak, are considered by many historians as Atlantic City’s golden age. During Prohibition, which was enacted nationally in 1919 and lasted until 1933, much liquor was consumed and gambling regularly took place in the back rooms of nightclubs and restaurants. It was during Prohibition that racketeer and political boss Enoch L. “Nucky” Johnson rose to power. Prohibition was largely unenforced in Atlantic City, and, because alcohol that had been smuggled into the city with the acquiescence of local officials could be readily obtained at restaurants and other establishments, the resort’s popularity grew further. The city then dubbed itself as “The World’s Playground”. Nucky Johnson’s income, which reached as much as $500,000 annually, came from the kickbacks he took on illegal liquor, gambling and prostitution operating in the city, as well as from kickbacks on construction projects.
During this time, Atlantic City was under the mayoral reign of Edward L. Bader, known for his contributions to the construction, athletics and aviation of Atlantic City. Despite the opposition of many others, he purchased land that became the city’s municipal airport and high school football stadium, both of which were later named Bader Field in his honor. He led the initiative, in 1923, to construct the Atlantic City High School at Albany and Atlantic Avenues. Bader, in November 1923, initiated a public referendum, during the general election, at which time residents approved the construction of a Convention Center. The city passed an ordinance approving a bond issue for $1.5 million to be used for the purchase of land for Convention Hall, now known as the Boardwalk Hall, finalized September 30, 1924. Bader was also a driving force behind the creation of the Miss America competition.
Decline and resurgence
Like many older east coast cities after World War II, Atlantic City became plagued with poverty, crime, corruption, and general economic decline in the mid-to-late 20th century. The neighborhood known as the “Inlet” became particularly impoverished. The reasons for the resort’s decline were multi-layered. First of all, the automobile became more readily available to many Americans after the war. Atlantic City had initially relied upon visitors coming by train and staying for a couple of weeks. The car allowed them to come and go as they pleased, and many people would spend only a few days, rather than weeks. Also, the advent of suburbia played a huge role. With many families moving to their own private houses, luxuries such as home air conditioning and swimming pools diminished their interest in flocking to the luxury beach resorts during the hot summer. But perhaps the biggest factor in the decline in Atlantic City’s popularity came from cheap, fast jet service to other premier resorts, such as Miami Beach and the Bahamas.
By the late 1960s, many of the resort’s once great hotels were suffering from embarrassing vacancy rates. Most of them were either shut down, converted to cheap apartments, or converted to nursing home facilities by the end of the decade. Prior to and during the advent of legalized gaming, many of these hotels were demolished
Of the many pre-casino resorts that bordered the boardwalk, only the Claridge, the Dennis, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Haddon Hall survive to this day as parts of Bally’s Atlantic City, a condo complex, and Resorts Atlantic City. The old Ambassador Hotel was purchased by Ramada in 1978 and was gutted to become the Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City, only reusing the steelwork of the original building. Smaller hotels off the boardwalk, such as the Madison also survived.
In an effort at revitalizing the city, New Jersey voters in 1976 passed a referendum, approving casino gambling for Atlantic City; this came after a 1974 referendum on legalized gambling failed to pass. Immediately after the legislation passed, the owners of the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel began converting it into the Resorts International. It was the first legal casino in the eastern United States when it opened on May 26, 1978. Other casinos were soon constructed along the Boardwalk and, later, in the marina district for a total of eleven today. The introduction of gambling did not, however, quickly eliminate many of the urban problems that plagued Atlantic City. Many people have suggested that it only served to exacerbate those problems, as attested to by the stark contrast between tourism intensive areas and the adjacent impoverished working-class neighborhoods. In addition, Atlantic City has been less popular than Las Vegas, as a gambling city in the United States. Donald Trump helped bring big name boxing bouts to the city to attract customers to his casinos. The boxer Mike Tyson had most of his fights in Atlantic City in the 1980s, which helped Atlantic City achieve nationwide attention as a gambling resort. Numerous highrise condominiums were built for use as permanent residences or second homes. By end of the decade it was the most popular tourist destination in the United States.
With the redevelopment of Las Vegas and the opening of two casinos in Connecticut in the early 1990s, and along with newly built casinos in the nearby Philadelphia metro area in the 2000s, Atlantic City’s tourism began to decline due to its failure to diversify away from gaming.
Determined to expand, in 1999 the Atlantic City Redevelopment Authority partnered with Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to develop a new roadway to a barren section of the city near the Marina. Nicknamed “The Tunnel Project”, Steve Wynn planned the proposed ‘Mirage Atlantic City’ around the idea that he would connect the $330 million tunnel stretching 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the Atlantic City Expressway to his new resort. The roadway was later officially named the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector, and funnels incoming traffic off of the expressway into the city’s marina district and Brigantine, New Jersey.
Although Wynn’s plans for development in the city were scrapped in 2002, the tunnel opened in 2001. The new roadway prompted Boyd Gaming in partnership with MGM/Mirage to build Atlantic City’s newest casino. The Borgata opened in July 2003, and its success brought an influx of developers to Atlantic City with plans for building grand Las Vegas style mega casinos to revitalize the aging city.
Owing to economic conditions and the late 2000s recession, many of the proposed mega casinos never went further than the initial planning stages. One of these developers was Pinnacle Entertainment, who purchased the Sands Atlantic City, only to close it permanently November 11, 2006. The following year, the resort was demolished in a dramatic, Las Vegas styled implosion, the first of its kind in Atlantic City. While Pinnacle Entertainment intended to replace it with a $1.5–2 billion casino resort, the company canceled its construction plans and plans to sell the land. The biggest disappointment was when MGM Resorts International announced that it would pull out of all development for Atlantic City, effectively ending their plans for the MGM Grand Atlantic City.
In 2006, Morgan Stanley purchased 20 acres (8.1 ha) directly north of the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel and Casino for a new $2 billion plus casino resort. Revel Entertainment Group was named as the project’s developer for the Revel Casino. Revel was hindered with many problems, with the biggest setback to the company being in April 2010 when Morgan Stanley, the owner of 90% of Revel Entertainment Group, decided to discontinue funding for continued construction and put its stake in Revel up for sale. Early in 2010 the New Jersey state legislature passed a bill offering tax incentives to attract new investors and complete the job, but a poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University‘s PublicMind released in March 2010 showed that three of five voters (60%) opposed the legislation, and two of three of those who opposed it “strongly” opposed it. Ultimately, Governor Chris Christie offered Revel $261 – million in state tax credits to assist the casino once it opened. As of March 2011, Revel had completed all of the exterior work and had continued work on the interior after finally receiving the funding necessary to complete construction. It had a soft opening in April 2012, and was fully open by May 2012. Ten months later, in February 2013, after serious losses and a write-down in the value of the resort from $2.4 billion to $450 million, Revel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was restructured but still could not carry on and re-entered bankruptcy on 19 June 2014. It was put up for sale, however as no suitable bids were received the resort closed its doors on 2 September 2014.
“Superstorm Sandy” struck Atlantic City on October 29, 2012, causing flooding and power-outages but left minimal damage to any of the tourist areas including the Boardwalk and casino resorts, despite widespread belief that the city’s boardwalk had been destroyed. The source of the misinformation was a widely circulated photograph of a damaged section of the Boardwalk that was slated for repairs, prior to the storm, and incorrect news reports at the time of the disaster. The storm produced an all-time record low barometric pressure reading of 943 mb (27.85″)  for not only Atlantic City, but the state of New Jersey.
As of September 2014, the greater Atlantic City area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 13.8%, out of labor force of around 141,000. 
In July 2010, Governor Chris Christie announced that a state takeover of the city and local government “was imminent”.
In January 2011, Chris Christie announced the Atlantic City Tourism District, a state-run district encompassing the boardwalk casinos, the marina casinos, the Atlantic City Outlets, and Bader Field. Fairleigh Dickinson University‘s PublicMind poll surveyed New Jersey voters’ attitudes on the takeover. The February 16, 2011 survey showed that 43% opposed the measure while 29% favored direct state oversight. Interestingly, the poll also found that even South Jersey voters expressed opposition to the plan; 40% reported they opposed the measure and 37% reported they were in favor of it.
On April 29, 2011, the boundaries for the state-run tourism district were set. The district would include heavier police presence, as well as beautification and infrastructure improvements. The CRDA would oversee all functions of the district and will make changes to attract new businesses and attractions. New construction would be ambitious and may resort to eminent domain.
Casinos and gambling
Atlantic City is considered the “Gambling Capital of the East Coast,” and currently has eight large casinos and several smaller ones. In 2011, New Jersey’s casinos employed approximately 33,000 employees, had 28.5 million visitors, made $3.3 billion in gaming revenue, and paid $278 million in taxes. They are regulated by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
As a result of the United States’ economic downturn and the legalization of gambling in adjacent states (including Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania), four casino closures took place in 2014: the Atlantic Club on January 13; the Showboat on August 31; the Revel, which was Atlantic City’s second-newest casino, on September 2; and Trump Plaza, which originally opened in 1984, and currently the poorest performing casino in the US, on September 16. Despite media reports of the decline, the ownership groups of the eight remaining casinos understand a market correction was necessary.
Atlantic City (sometimes referred to as “Monopoly City”) has become well-known over the years for its portrayal in the U.S. version of the popular board game, Monopoly, in which properties on the board are named after locations in and near Atlantic City. While the original incarnation of the game did not feature Atlantic City, it was in Indianapolis that Ruth Hoskins learned the game, and took it back to Atlantic City. After she arrived, Hoskins made a new board with Atlantic City street names, and taught it to a group of local Quakers.
Some of the actual locations that correspond to board elements have changed since the game’s release. Illinois Avenue was renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in the 1980s. St. Charles Place no longer exists, as the Showboat Casino Hotel was developed where it once ran.
Marvin Gardens, the leading yellow property on the board shown, is actually a misspelling of the original location name, “Marven Gardens“. The misspelling was said to have been introduced by Charles Todd and passed on when his home-made Monopoly board was copied by Charles Darrow and thence Parker Brothers. It was not until 1995 that Parker Brothers acknowledged this mistake and formally apologized to the residents of Marven Gardens for the misspelling although the spelling error was not corrected.
The “Short Line” is believed to refer to the Shore Fast Line, a streetcar line that served Atlantic City. The B&O Railroad did not serve Atlantic City. A booklet included with the reprinted 1935 edition states that the four railroads that served Atlantic City in the mid-1930s were the Jersey Central, the Seashore Lines, the Reading Railroad, and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The actual “Electric Company” and “Water Works” serving the city are respectively, Atlantic City Electric Company and the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority.
Governor of New Jersey stated in September 2014 that the government will consider putting the 40-year-old law that gave Atlantic City a monopoly on gambling in New Jersey on voting in November 2015. With as many as five of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closing this year, some lawmakers say allowing gambling in other towns is crucial to reclaim revenue that has gone to New York and Philadelphia. According to Reuters, the growth of gambling in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York cut casino revenue in Atlantic City to $2.9 billion last year from a peak of $5.2 billion in 2006. The drop means less money for New Jersey, which collects an 8 percent tax from casinos and dedicates the money — $205 million last year—to programs for senior citizens and the disabled.
Atlantic City is the home of the Miss America competition, however it was briefly moved to Las Vegas for seven years before returning.
City and state agencies
New Jersey Casino Control Commission
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission is a New Jersey state governmental agency that was founded in 1977 as the state’s gaming control board, responsible for administering the Casino Control Act and its regulations to assure public trust and confidence in the credibility and integrity of the casino industry and casino operations in Atlantic City. Casinos operate under licenses granted by the Commission. The commission is headquartered in the Arcade Building at Tennessee Avenue and Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
The CRDA was founded in 1984 and is responsible for directing the spending of casino reinvestment funds in public and private projects to benefit Atlantic City and other areas of the state. From 1985 through April 2008, CRDA spent US$1.5 billion on projects in Atlantic City and US$300 million throughout New Jersey.
Rail and bus
Atlantic City is connected to other cities in several ways. New Jersey Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Terminal at the Atlantic City Convention Center provides service from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia through several smaller South Jersey communities via the Atlantic City Line.
On June 20, 2006, the board of New Jersey Transit approved a three-year trial of express train service between New York Penn Station and the Atlantic City Rail Terminal. The line, known as ACES (Atlantic City Express Service), ran from February 2009 and March 2012. The approximate travel time was 2½ hours with a stop at Newark‘s Penn Station and was part of the Casinos’ multi-million dollar investments in Atlantic City. Most of the funding for the transit line was provided by Harrah’s Entertainment (owners of both Harrah’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City) and the Borgata.
South Jersey Industries provides natural gas to the city under the South Jersey Gas division. Marina Energy and its subsidiary, Energenic, a joint business venture with a long-time business partner, operate two Thermal plants in the city. The Marina Thermal Plant serves the Borgata while a second plant serves the Resorts Hotel and Casino. Another Thermal plant is the Midtown Thermal Control Center on Atlantic and Ohio Avenues built by Conectiv.