At Atlantic City for Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Holiday was spent at the Borgata in Atlantic City. It has been over 5 to 7 years since I visited Atlantic City which was at a decline as a result of the recession that occurred as the dotcom boom went bust and due to the uncertainty after 9/11. Gone is the original pier mall in Atlantic City that resembled a cruise ship; in it’s place are a series of retail outlets near Caesar’s Atlantic City and a new pier mall on the boardwalk across Caesar’s Palace.

Most of the holiday was spent at the Borgata, which is the new resort built by MGM-Mirage and now currently one of the largest casinos in the city. The Borgata is also the start of a new trend of casino-resorts being built around the city now that Atlantic City has once again becoming a popular alternative to Las Vegas and to fill the void left by the decline of Donald Trump’s various casino-resorts.

Although there are still Asian gamblers that once populated the other casinos in Atlantic City’s heyday, the demographic for these gamblers has also changed. In the past much of the Asian gamblers were largely ethnic Chinese who originated from the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and even Taiwan; but now they have been displaced by large numbers of South Koreans coming from Canada, America, and even the Republic of Korea as the Greater Chinese economy has suffered a shift while South Korea has begun its gradual rise in the world. Also, most of the Pai Gow poker tables are not longer at the levels they used to be nearly half a decade ago.

Unlike Las Vegas, Atlantic City does not even bother to promote itself as a family-friendly destination. Rather they have accepted the reality of simply being a casino town with some gentrified commercial districts for those who are looking to do something different in between loosing money in the casinos. Also, they have tried to position themselves as a cheaper and closer alternative to Las Vegas, Nevada.

One thing I did realise while working the slot machines, are the tendencies for machines to eat up your money if you play without an official casino card. This seems to be the case as the card appears to improve the computerised slot machine’s odds of providing a payout to keep you playing as a paying customer in the casino itself. Also, it allows the casino to track the player’s amounts and gaming activity which can be used later as market research for purchasing new machines, ad campaigns in attracting new customers, or even periodically changing the payout odds for the machines. With that in mind, I signed up to their local complementary membership and I started gaining higher payouts as a result.

Another thing I noticed is that the Borgata never bothers to card me in anything whether it’s playing at the casino or purchasing alcohol. This was not the case at any of Donald Trump’s casino, where I was constantly asked to produce a photo ID for nearly everything I did there. This maybe another reason why the Borgata seems to be a popular spot for college kids to go on certain weekends. It also does not hurt that many of the hostesses are also college girls working part-time for the flexible hours and reasonable gratuity. It’s also good to know that the Borgata has a less elitist atmosphere than the Trump resorts despite having obscenely-priced merchandise and high-end retail outlets.


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