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In A Change From Norm, Atlantic City Casinos Packed Last Weekend

The state of New jersey not only had to deal with the economic recession of 2008, but also the devastation that the recession caused one of their main industries. The casino gambling industry in Atlantic City has been ravaged by the recession and its effects for the past three years.

After searching for different ways to bring customers back after the recession, the AC casinos finally received a glimmer of hope this past weekend. The Fourth of July holiday weekend brought residents and tourists in big numbers to the AC Boardwalk, and that meant increased numbers for casinos.

The first six months of the new year have been dedicated to renovations at many of the top casinos in AC. Resorts, the oldest casino in the city, was bought by Dennis Gomes. The casino has been renovated and now has a prohibition era theme. The theme is modeled after the popular HBO show Boardwalk Empire.

Even with the changes, there have been bumps along the way. Resorts has been sued by former cocktail waitresses who claim they lost their jobs because they were not sexy enough for the new outfits that Gomes has brought in for the waitresses. The casino claims that the women were offered jobs in other areas of the casino, and turned them down.

Even with the economic and legal troubles, the city has somehow survived. Officials believe that weekends like the one that just passed will become more of the norm than the exception.

"Atlantic City is really becoming known for our large-scale entertainment and events," said Jeff Vasser, President of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor's Authority. "Our July 4th fireworks display was listed among the top in the country by AOL Travel, ranked number two, just below New York City."

Casinos in AC were booked solid for the first time in years. Resorts, the Tropicana, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal, and the Chelsea Hotel were all sold out from Friday through Monday. With Fourth of July falling on Monday, the casinos experienced a carry over of customers into Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I haven't seen it this crowded down here in a long time," said New Jersey resident Gail Starlib, who was staying with her extended family at the Trump Taj Mahal. "For this many people to come out and enjoy what we have to offer is special, and I hope people realize Atlantic City is still the place to be for fun and excitement."

Competition has made it tough on AC casinos, as the recession has brought a new wave of thinking from lawmakers on the East Coast. Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York have been among the most active states when it comes to casino expansion in the past two years.

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