Atlantic City is something of the mini Las Vegas of the east. It is a small coastal resort city in Atlantic Country in southern New Jersey and is famous for its casinos, boardwalk, and beaches. It has a reputation for gambling, organized crime, drinking, prostitution, clubbing, and strip clubs earning it the reputation of being a (mini) Sin City.

In the past, it was also known for police corruption, political corruption, and worse organized crime. While there is no real comparison to the sheer size and opulence of Vegas, Atlantic City has everything one needs for a relaxing time in mega-casinos. While Atlantic City is a beach resort, one can go on a stunning day trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas - and even take a helicopter tour down into it.

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Background of Gambling In New Jersey

In 1976 New Jersey voters chose to legalize casino gambling in Atlantic City making it one of the first to do so in the United States. Subsequently, the first casino opened up there in 1978. This followed New Jersey voters rejecting legalizing gambling at four sites around the state two years earlier. And so Atlantic City became the only place in the state to have legal casino gambling.

  • Population: 38,000 City Proper (275,000 Metro Population)

The first casino to open was Resorts Atlantic City which first opened in 1978 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the then governor of New Jersey.

Today Atlantic City is thought of  as the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast." Currently, the small city has nine large casinos (all of the casinos in the state) - although this is down from the 12 casinos in 2011. After the Great Recession, four of the casinos closed down (that also coincided with the legalization of gambling in the neighboring states of Maryland, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania).

Related: 15 Harsh Truths Why Las Vegas Is Severely Overrated (5 Reasons To Visit Anyway)

The Nine Large Casinos Of Atlantic City

The nine operating casinos in Atlantic City today are:

Resorts Casino Hotel: It was the first casino hotel in Atlantic City and became the first legal casino outside of Nevada.

  • Opened: In 1978 (First Casino In Atlantic City)
  • Theme: Roaring Twenties (Converted In 2011 After Renovations)
  • Number of Rooms: 942 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 100,000 Square Feet

Caesars Atlantic City: Like its sister in Las Vegas, Caesar's Atlantic City has an ancient Roman and ancient Greek theme. It was Atlantic City's second casino and opened in 1979 originally as the Boardwalk Regency. It is one of the largest casinos in Atlantic City and has been greatly expanded over the last decade.

  • Opened: In 1979
  • Slot Machines: Over 3,400
  • Theme: Roman Empire
  • Number of Rooms: 1,141 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 145,000 Square Feet

Tropicana Atlantic City: Also known as The Trop and previously as TropWorld Resort, it is operated by the giant Caesars Entertainment. It boasts over 30 restaurants, 30 shops, 20 bars and lounges, and 3,000 slot machines.

  • Opened: In 1981
  • Theme: Old Havana
  • Number of Rooms: 2,364 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 125,000 Square Feet

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City: Formerly owned by Donald Trump, it was first integrated as the Trump Taj Mahal in 1990. It was the home of Scores the United States' first in-casino strip club.

  • Opened: 1990 As Trump Taj Mahal, 2018 As Hard Rock
  • Theme: Rock and Roll
  • Number of Rooms: 2032 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 167,000 Square Feet

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City: Located in the marina district of the city, it is also operated by Caesars Entertainment.

  • Opened: In 1980
  • Theme: Marina Waterfront
  • Number of Hotel Rooms: 2,587 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 160,000 Square Feet

Golden Nugget Atlantic City

  • Opened: In 1985
  • Theme: Gold Rush Era
  • Number of Rooms: 717 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 75,000 Square Feet

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

  • Opened: In 2003
  • Theme: Tuscany, Italy
  • Number of Rooms: 2767 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 161,000 Square Feet

Ocean Casino Resort

  • Opened: In 2018 (Reopened After Bankruptcy)
  • Theme: Ocean
  • Number of Rooms: 1,399 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 130,000 Square Feet

Bally's Atlantic City

  • Opened: In 1979
  • Theme: Modern
  • Number of Rooms: 1,214 Rooms
  • Gaming Space: 225,000 Square Feet

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Atlantic City Boardwalk

The Atlantic City Boardwalk opened way back in 1870. At that time it was a temporary structure that was erected for the summer season and was the first boardwalk in the United States. It runs for around 5.5 miles and many of the casinos, as well as other hotels, are situated on it. There are also many retail stores, restaurants, and amusement attractions on it.

Some of the Boardwalk's more notable attractions include the House of Blues, Ripley's Believe it or Not! and the Boardwalk Hall.

Hurricane Sandy: Destroyed the Northern Part of The Boardwalk

There are more Sin Cities in America than Las Vegas and its much smaller cousin Reno in the other end of the state. In addition to deciding if Las Vegas or Reno is better for a holiday, one can also consider Atlantic City.

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