Location: On the Atlantic Ocean in southeast New Jersey, 130 miles south of New York City and 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia. Once a major tourist destination that was world-famous for its steel pier and boardwalk attractions, Atlantic City gradually fell into decline and casino gambling was seen as its salvation when voters approved it there in 1976. The first casino (Resorts International) opened to "standing-room-only crowds" in 1978. Since then 11 more casinos have opened and all but two are located along the boardwalk. The other two (Harrah's and Trump Marina) are located in the marina section
In mid-1997 Bally's Wild Wild West casino (Atlantic City's first themed casino) opened and it is the 13th casino in the city. Due to a quirk in the licensing law, however, this casino is considered as part of Bally's Park Place. Las Vegas-based MGM-Mirage Resorts is planning to build to build a $2 billion, 4,000-room resort called Le Jardin on a 125-acre site known as the H-tract in Atlantic City's Marina district. That company is also developing a joint project with Boyd Gaming Corp. in another $1 billion, 40-story, 2,010-room resort on an adjacent 25-acre site that will be connected to Le Jardin. Groundbreaking for the new Borgata began in mid-2000 and the resort is expected to open in mid-2003.
In early 1993 the New Jersey Casino Control Commission authorized simulcasting of pari-mutuel events, plus the addition of poker. On May 30, 1993 the Showboat became the first Atlantic City casino to offer betting on races that were simulcast to its facility. Poker made its Atlantic City debut the next month. Later that year the commission gave the okay for keno and the first casinos began offering it on June 15, 1994. Following is information from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission regarding average slot payout percentages for the 12-month period from January through December 1999:
CASINO PAYBACK % Harrah's 92.4 Tropicana 92.1 Trump Plaza 92.0 Trump's Marina 91.9 Sands 91.9 A.C. Hilton 91.8 Caesars 91.8 Bally's Park Place 91.8 Trump Taj Mahal 91.7 Claridge 91.1 Showboat 91.0 Resorts 90.6
These figures reflect the total percentages returned by each casino for all of their electronic machines which includes slot machines, video poker, etc. All Atlantic City casinos are open 24 hours and, unless otherwise noted, the games offered at every casino are: slots, video poker, big six, craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, mini-baccarat, Caribbean stud poker, let it ride, pai gow poker and keno. Additional games offered include: simulcasting (S), poker (P), pai gow (PG), sic bo (SB), double exposure blackjack (DE) and casino war (W). The minimum gambling age is 21. For more information on visiting New Jersey you can contact the state's Travel & Tourism Department at (800) 537-7397. For information only on Atlantic City call (800) 262-7395.