A third Atlantic City Casino, Trump Plaza, has notified its workers it plans to shut down, sowing deep disappointment and worry in the casino city.
Workers at Trump Plaza join those at the Showboat and Revel in receiving layoff notices. That comes after the Atlantic Club closed down in January. Those four gaming halls together account for about one third of the casino jobs here. The decision to close another casino is not sitting well with Isaac Simmons who works at a beach bar outside the Trump Plaza. He says the business has been in a steady decline.
“I’ve been in the city working for about 15 years, and I’ve seen such a dramatic change yearly, and right now Atlantic City is at its worst,” Simmons said. “Casino gaming the city in general. I feel if the state doesn’t do something to step in it’s not going to be a safe haven for tourists or even people who live here.”
A new casino earnings report shows Trump Plaza down almost 32 percent compared to a year ago while the market was down on an average of 5.7 percent. Showboat was down nearly 17 percent and Revel nearly broke even.
Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine says these casinos are not the end of Atlantic City’s troubles.
“We still have more competition coming in Philadelphia with a second casino there, they are talking about a casino for North Jersey,” Gros said. ” There’s four casinos in upstate New York it’s just the middle of the process. We haven’t seen the bottom yet and I’m not sure what the bottom is quite frankly.”
Maria Smollett traveled from Canada to gamble here. She says Trump Plaza casino resembles a sad ghost town.
“The poor workers who are getting their pink slips their attitude, not that they really didn’t want to serve you, there’s a like a depression when you get in there today,” Smollett said.
Dominic Stefano of North Wales agrees.
“It looks pretty bad, everything is bad, it’s not easy to see something like this going down,” he said. “You can see for yourself there’s nobody in the gaming rooms, it’s very depressing it’s a shame.”
After being out of a job for a year, Phillip Hooper came to work for a contractor at Trump Plaza who provides restaurant services. He’s resigned to collecting unemployment again.
“We don’t know what to expect, we don’t know what’s going on, so it’s just the feeling of the unknown right now,” Hooper said, “but I guess as time progresses we’ll find out what’s going to happen and what we’re going to do.”
Otto Graham pushes one of those rolling chairs you see on the Boardwalk. He says you could see people weren’t coming to Atlantic City, even over the July 4th weekend.
“For example last year 4th of July you had about a million people here, this year you didn’t have many people here,” Graham said. “I know it’s slipping and slipping people are fading away it was a decrease in the business and the population of the people.”
Adele Schlotzhauer, visiting from Boston hopes New Jersey’s gambling mecca can bounce back.
“I think Atlantic City is an old, iconic adorable place that deserves to have another chance and I hope that some of the casinos have a chance to turn it around and make it,” she said.