Can the new HBO series Boardwalk Empire, by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese give Atlantic City the much needed kick in the pants to revive it’s struggling economy? Who can really say for sure, perhaps AC’s problems do extend far past any remedies a historical drama set in prohibition-era Atlantic City can render.
But at the very least, if the movie is a success, which you have to anticipate it will be with Scorsese at the helm, could this series at least boost tourism in the short term? Well you hope so, but the stark truth of the matter is that the series actually shows just how far Atlantic City has fallen from grace. The Atlantic City Boardwalk is such a shell of it’s 1920’s glamour to the point where the Boardwalk Empire couldn’t even be filmed in the AC, but rather on a massive set in Brooklyn, N.Y where they could at least do it justice.
Atlantic City is half the size it was in the 1920s, it has a population of just 35,00o and just last month, the city’s gaming revenue dropped 11.3% to $347.9 million. The vulchers are circling, that’s for sure, and they have names like Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, all states that have won votes to implement table games in casinos. Of course if Atlantic City truly hopes to stay afloat they’ll have to solve their differences between the racetrack industry in the north and the casino industry in the south, they’ll need to find a way to save and strengthen the horse racing industry and the casino industry..Oh and finding someway to get that Xanadu finished would probably help too.
In the meantime, I guess betting on HBO series is the next option. The AC is apparently already going all out to let visitors know that it’s home to the HBO series, by adorning the Boardwalk with billboards and advertisements on The Pier at Caesars, banners at Boardwalk Hall and near the Atlantic City Expressway. Harrah’s Entertainment is the official marketing partner for Boardwalk Empire and Harrah’s Caesars Atlantic City casino is also holding a Boardwalk Empire sweepstakes, where one winner will have the chance to “live like the king of the Boardwalk,” with access to a personalized suite for a full year. Other casinos including the Trump Taj Mahal, Bally’s Atlantic City and pretty much any other of the big names you can think off are getting in on the Boardwalk Empire promotional train, desperate times call for desperate measures.