No Casinos launches new website focusing on Atlantic City casino failures

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After only two years of operation, Atlantic City’s $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel closed Labor Day weekend, the latest in what could ultimately affect as many as one-third of the city’s big gambling centers by the end of September.

No Casinos, the Orlando-based anti-gambling coalition, is anything but surprised by the failures of iconic Atlantic City casinos such as the Atlantic Club and Trump Plaza. By the time it is all over, as many as 8,000 jobs will be lost.

They are warning the same thing could happen in Florida, if gambling expansion gets another shot in the 2015 Legislative Session.

On Thursday, No Casinos launched a 60-second ad featured on www.grandclosing.org, a new microsite chronicling news and background on this historical financial setback for the former mecca for vacationing tourists, which legalized gambling in 1978.

“These closings warrant close attention because they are symptomatic of the enormous economic and social risks associated with casino gambling,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski. “Just as individuals are lured to casinos by the unlikely prospect of beating the odds, communities like Atlantic City can be easy prey for the grandiose financial promises of opportunistic casino operators looking for their next place to profit, regardless of the casualties they’ll inevitably leave behind.”

On January 13, more than 1,600 employees were out of work when the Atlantic Club closed. Another 1,600 were lost after the Showboat Casino shuttered on August 31. The end of the high profile Revel on September 2 brought the end of nearly 3,000 jobs. With the Trump Plaza closing on September 16, more than 1,100 jobs will add to the tally.

“Perhaps most noteworthy for Floridians is the closing of the Revel,” Sowinski said. “(It) opened to great fanfare a little over two years ago as a new concept ‘destination resort’ and a ‘game changer’ for Atlantic City.”

Promoters sold the Revel as a grand seaside hotel that also happened to contain a casino.

“It never lived up to its promises,” Sowinski pointed out. “Never made a profit.”

In Florida, Major casino interests, chiefly from Malaysia and Las Vegas, have pushed for legislative changes to allow the construction of mega-casinos like the Revel. Sowinski noted that they used the same code words (“destination resorts”) and the same promises of a payday for local communities.

No Casinos, joined by statewide business and law-enforcement associations, elected officials and concerned citizens, are using campaigns and websites like Grandclosing.org  to expose gambling supporters’ real motives.

“Together, we want Florida to be known as a state that’s a family friendly destination, open to new businesses and higher paying jobs, built on a solid financial foundation with opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity,” Sowinski said.

“As the Atlantic City experiment clearly shows, that is not the legacy of casino gambling.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.