Since the 20th century, Atlantic City has become one of the biggest tourist destinations in the US, with people coming from all over the country to enjoy the sights and sounds of this fun-filled resort city. Aside from the beach and fairground, Atlantic City is also home to several major casinos and has recently become something of an online gambling hub, too, thanks to New Jersey changing gambling regulations.
Today, gambling is one of Atlantic City’s biggest attractions, and just like Las Vegas, people come from all over the world to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Whether it’s land-based casinos, online gambling, or Atlantic City sportsbooks, there are loads of options for visitors and residents to choose from. New Jersey has made sure that gambling is regulated and controlled, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement licenses and taxes all gambling operations in the state.
How Did Atlantic City Become Popular?
Atlantic City’s popularity as a tourist destination stretches back to the late 1800s. The city is built on a spawling Atlantic coastline, and with miles of beautiful coastline, it became an area ripe for development by hotel moguls. The famous Atlantic City boardwalk was completed in 1870, and this led to a boom in hotel development and tourism to the city, as people traveled from New York and other cities in the surrounding areas to spend some time at the beach.
By the 1920s, the Atlantic City was one of the most popular summer holiday destinations on the East coast, and the prohibition era helped to bring even more tourists in. Business owners in the 1920s, who were reliant on the income from tourists, largely ignored the ban on alcohol, and hotels and bars in the city continued to serve alcohol as normal. This helped bring an increasing number of people from the surrounding areas who were drawn to Atlantic City’s lax laws on alcohol and the promise of free-spirited entertainment.
As well as being relaxed towards alcohol laws, New Jersey didn’t really enforce the gambling laws in the state. Gambling was technically banned completely in 1897, but casinos and sports betting were still popular in Atlantic City during the 20s and 30s. Atlantic City was the place to be during this time, but after the Second World War, an economic decline and reduced popularity of casinos and resorts led to the city falling on hard times.
The Return of Casinos
Although casinos had been popular in Atlantic City during the 20s and 30s, they were still technically illegal. Several decades passed, and the area was a shadow of its former self. Many of Atlantic City’s famous hotels had been converted into housing blocks, and tourism had declined considerably. In the 70s, the New Jersey officials decided that efforts should be made to bring tourism back to Atlantic City. In 1974, a referendum was held to legalize gambling throughout the state. However, only 405 of the state’s residents were in agreement with the decision.
Although the state was unable to legalize gambling, it was agreed that Atlantic City would finally accept legal casinos, and in 1978 Resorts Atlantic City, the first legal casino, opened its doors. As more casinos opened up, the 1980s saw a return of tourism to Atlantic City as people from all over the east coast came to enjoy legal gambling for the first time.
Over the next few decades, the gambling industry in Atlantic City continued to thrive, and as more casinos opened their doors, tourists flooded in, eager to play slots, table games and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Donald Trump became a central figure in Atlantic City, with his casinos, including Trump Castle, Trump Plaza, and Trump Taj Mahal, all finding success. In the early 2000s, the MGM Resorts and Casinos came to Atlantic City, establishing the Borgata and bringing with it the class and sophistication that has helped to make Atlantic City and premier gambling destination.
Atlantic City and Online Gambling
Considering the state of New Jersey’s long history with gambling, it’s perhaps little surprise that the state was one of the first in the country to fully legalize online gambling. Although Atlantic City is the home of casinos in New Jersey, residents and visitors to the state can now enjoy gambling wherever they are, thanks to online casinos and sportsbooks. Provided you’re able to prove that you’re over 21 years old by uploading a copy of your ID, you can log into a number of online gambling sites and start playing on your computer or mobile device.