Atlantic City on Thursday will open its first casino in 13 years -- a billion-dollar, 43-story tower that dominates the landscape of the New Jersey seashore town.
The Borgata, a joint venture of Boyd Gaming Corp. and MGM Mirage, brings Las Vegas touches to a gambling center that matches the Nevada boomtown in visitors but has stayed in its shadow for lack of glamour and fame.
Borgata could change that with its 2,002 marble- and wood-lined rooms, 11 restaurants overseen by famous chefs, expensive shops and theaters, and even high-speed Internet for conventioneers. But it’s not easy to open a casino. The owner of Las Vegas’s newest casino, the Aladdin, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, a year after it opened. And Donald Trump put Atlantic City’s own Taj Mahal into bankruptcy proceedings in 1991, also a year after it opened. Meanwhile, sparkling American Indian-run casinos are drawing crowds in Connecticut, challenging Atlantic City.
Atlantic City and Las Vegas each draw about 35 million visitors annually. Las Vegas, however, brings in more money, with hotels, food and shows that provide about half the revenue for upscale properties and keep gamblers in town longer.
The Borgata is not the only new development in Atlantic City.
There’s also a new convention center, shopping and other casinos that, along with the Borgata, will add about 4,000 rooms -- a 35% increase -- between 2001 and 2005.