A list of the casinos that are no longer part of America’s Playground.
Ever since the opening of the city’s first casino, Resorts International, on May 26, 1978, the gaming industry has become a very important part of Atlantic City’s overall history and culture. Along with Resorts, there are 10 other casinos operating currently in Atlantic City: Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s Resort, and the Showboat (all owned by Harrah’s Entertainment), the Hilton, Tropicana, Borgata and the three Trump Entertainment properties — Trump Plaza, Trump Marina and Trump Taj Mahal. These 11 casinos, however, are not the only ones that have existed in Atlantic City since gambling was legalized. Here is a look at the Atlantic City casinos that were.
(At right, the implosion of the Sands on Oct. 18, 2007)
Opened originally as the Brighton Casino on Aug. 31, 1980, this casino was taken over and converted quickly into the former Sands Hotel and Casino by May 1981. At its peak, the Sands brought in top performers such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Robin Williams. Eventually, however, coming upon hard times, the Sands filed for bankruptcy in 1998. Purchased by Pinnacle Entertainment in 2006, the casino closed on Nov. 11 of that year. At the time of its closing, Sands was the smallest of all the casinos in Atlantic City. On Oct. 18, 2007, accompanied by a fireworks show, the Sands was imploded in the East Coast’s first ever casino-hotel implosion.
While Hugh Hefner and his bunnies are still alive and well, the casino bearing the same name as his magazine, Playboy Casino, is no longer. The Playboy faced many obstacles even before its opening in Atlantic City. Facing monetary concerns and needing $135 million in financing, Playboy Casino took on the Elsinore Corporation as a partner. The casino was issued a temporary permit by the Casino Control Commission (CCC) on April 4, 1981 and the cocktail bunnies opened the casino doors for business on April 14, 1981. While the casino showed a profit for the summer, they were still in need of a permanent license. The CCC questioned Playboy and Elsinore’s “suitability” for licensing. In the end, the CCC granted a permanent license to Elsinore and denied one to Playboy due to concerns about Playboy’s London casino operations. As a result, Playboy sold its shares to Elsinore.
After having bought out Playboy, Elsinore Corporation took off the casino’s bunny ears and replaced Playboy’s famous logo with a seashell. After it closed, Playboy Casino was renamed the Atlantis Casino and opened in the summer of 1984, but did not fare much better than its predecessor, nor that of its namesake — the lost island of Atlantis. Just one year later, the Atlantis filed for bankruptcy. In 1989, following a previous hearing that denied the Atlantis a new license, the CCC ordered the Atlantis to shut down stating it was “no more able to conduct itself in a businesslike manner than it was at the casino license hearing,” making it A.C.’s first casino to go out of business.
Trump’s World Fair
After the close of the Atlantis Casino, Donald Trump purchased the property for $63 million and operated it as the Trump Regency, a non-casino hotel. Then, following a regulations change that allowed Trump to own four casinos, he re-opened the property on April 15, 1996 as Trump’s World Fair at Trump Plaza. Just a short three years later, claiming he wasn’t turning a profit, Trump closed his World Fair and the casino was demolished in 2001. Currently the land is empty and owned by a condominium developer.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Steve Wynn bought and tore down the Strand Motel on Boston Avenue and the Boardwalk to construct Atlantic City’s sixth casino, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which opened on Dec. 11, 1980. By 1983 it was Atlantic City’s top earning casino. Following licensing troubles and rumors surrounding connections with organized crime, Wynn decided to sell the Golden Nugget to Bally’s Entertainment Corporation and it became Bally’s Grand and then the Grand. In 1996 it was sold to Hilton and opened as the Atlantic City Hilton.
Trump Castle Hotel Casino
Originally built as a Hilton but denied a gambling license when the building was near completion, Trump purchased the casino and opened it in 1985 as the Trump Castle Hotel Casino. Twelve years later, Trump renamed the property Trump Marina in July 1997.
From the famous organ at Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969, to Boardwalk Empire era tales and KY & the Curb.
From the city's 150th birthday celebration, casino changes and evolution within Atlantic City and, casino shows, then and now.
By his own admission, Tilman Fertitta isn’t a gambling man. But that didn’t stop the Texas billionaire from recently placing a $38 million bet in Atlantic City when his company, Landry’s Inc., bought the financially-strapped Trump Marina and immediately re-branded it with one of the most iconic names in the gaming business: the Golden Nugget. “I’m really not a gambler in casinos, I never really have been,” Fertitta says. “I’d rather take a multi-million dollar gamble in business than spend a few dollars in a casino. Put it this way: Before I got into this business, they didn’t send many limos to pick me up.” Fertitta’s company was best known for its various restaurant brands before it got into...
Thirty-three years ago this weekend, Atlantic City embarked on an experiment to use casino gambling to reverse the sagging fortunes of the one-time grand dame of America’s seashore resorts, who had been down on her luck for a couple of ...
SPEND SOME TIME IN ATLANTIC CITY AMID ITS FLASHY CASINOS, the fine restaurants, and the rolling beaches and Boardwalk, and you can’t help but marvel at how far the resort has come. But every step you take is still gently haunted by all that has been here before. Atlantic City wears its history like a comfortable old coat — tattered, but comfortable. From its days as a “health” resort in the 19th century, to its naughty and haughty days of irreverence during Prohibition (highlighted in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) to its eventual decline and then rebirth as an East Coast gambling mecca, Atlantic City and the region has been attracting visitors since its inception. In this issue, our first “Then & Now” issue, we look at Atlantic City’s long journey to get to this point in time. We look at a resort thriving...
Atlantic City showrooms have traditionally turned to revue shows in the first few months of the new year, and 2011 is no exception.
Old Atlantic City: Pre-Gaming Era
Tribute to Tony Mart’s
The Steel Pier — A Memory of Change
Houdini, Sir Doyle Do AC
‘Atlantic City Jackpot’