Hotels and casinos were hit hard again in 2013 as for the eighth consecutive year, visitors to Atlantic City have dropped in number.
In 2005, Atlantic City saw over 35 million visitors come to experience the hotels, casinos and nightlife. By last year, only 27.2 million people had visited town, almost a 8 million drop in visitors over an eight year period.
Of course, there are a number of reasons as to why the number of visitors to Atlantic City has started to dwindle over the past few years. In 2008, we were hit by one of the worst recessions in modern history. This had a significant impact on the amount of visitors coming to town as people generally could not afford the luxury of a trip away from home.
One factor which could negatively impact the number of visitors coming to town in 2014 is the legalization of internet gambling, which came into effect back in January for New Jersey. As much of the industry in Atlantic City is centered around our casinos, the establishment of online casinos will certainly result in a decline of visitors and income for the area.
However, all might not be lost. It was announced last year that more direct flights will be available for those looking to visit Atlantic City from locations such as Houston, Texas. This new direct flight path will open the door for a whole new generation of visitors who have never considered coming to town before.
The casinos seem to have been most heavily hit by the drop in visitors. In 2013, casinos reported winning $2.86 billion from their customers, down 6% from the year before.
However, while the casinos are seeing a drop in revenue, other industries are thriving, despite the visitor down turn. Restaurants, entertainment venues and other amenities are reporting financial growth for last year.
With Atlantic City already off to a turbulent start of the year, it is unclear whether or not the visitor numbers will pick up for the 2014 season.