Atlantic City isn't the gambling mecca it used to be.
Casinos are struggling to survive in the city, and for two casinos and thousands of workers, Labor Day weekend marks the end of an era.
FILE - In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 file photo, the Revel Casino Hotel, right, stands Trump Taj Mahal Casino, left, with its Chairman Tower, and the Showboat Casino Hotel, second right, are seen in Atlantic City, N.J. As Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza prepare to shut down over the next few weeks, putting thousands of employees out of work, Atlantic City is planning additional job training. Mayor Don Guardian said Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, that an effort to provide employment training and identify opportunities for unemployed workers will begin by October. It will be funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and is designed to help 1,200 workers a year. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)
As the Associated Press reported Saturday:
A time few could imagine during the not-too-distant glory days of casino gambling has arrived in Atlantic City, where two casinos will close this weekend and a third will shut down in two weeks.
More than 5,000 workers will lose their jobs in an unprecedented weekend in the seaside gambling resort, leaving many feeling betrayed by a system that once promised stable, well-paying jobs.
The Showboat is closing Sunday, followed by Revel on Monday and Tuesday. Trump Plaza is next, closing Sept. 16.
"There was a promise when casinos came in here that these would be good, viable jobs, something you could raise your family on and have a decent life with," said Paul Smith, a cook at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. "I feel so bad for all these people losing their jobs. It wasn't supposed to be like this."
In 2006, the AP noted, Atlantic City's casinos raked in $5.2 billion, but that figure has since dropped well below $3 billion and is projected to keep falling.
Casinos came to Atlantic City in 1978, and gambling employment peaked around 1990, according to the AP's timeline of Atlantic City casinos:
May 26, 1978: Resorts Atlantic City opens.
Casino revenue: $134 million
Casino employment: 3,300
June 26, 1979: Caesars Atlantic City opens.
Dec. 29, 1979: Bally's Atlantic City opens.
Casino revenue: $325 million
Casino employment: 11,300
Aug. 13, 1980: Sands Casino Hotel opens.
Nov. 23, 1980: Harrah's Atlantic City opens.
Dec. 9, 1980: Atlantic City Hilton opens. (It closed January 2014 as the Atlantic Club.)
Casino revenue: $642 million
Casino employment: 23,500
Nov. 23, 1981: Tropicana Casino and Resort opens.
Casino revenue: $1 billion
Casino employment: 28,300
May 14, 1984: Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino opens.
Casino revenue: $1.9 billion
Casino employment: 35,968
June 17, 1985: Trump Marina Hotel Casino (now the Golden Nugget) opens.
Casino revenue: $2.1 billion
Casino employment: 37,004
March 30, 1987: Showboat Casino Hotel opens.
Casino revenue: $2.4 billion
Casino employment: 39,351
April 2, 1990: Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort opens.
Casino revenue: $2.9 billion
Casino employment: 45,241
July 2, 2003: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa opens.
Casino revenue: $4.4 billion
Casino employment: 42,378
Nov. 11, 2006: Sands Casino Hotel closes.
Casino revenue: $5.2 billion
Casino employment: 45,101
April 2, 2012: Revel Casino Hotel opens.
Casino revenue: $3 billion
Casino employment: 35,777
Jan. 13, 2014: Atlantic Club closes.
Casino revenue: $2.8 billion
Casino employment: 30,676
July-August 2014: Showboat, Trump Plaza, Revel announce impending closures.
Casino revenue: $1.3 billion (January-June 2014)
Casino employment: 31,960
Aug. 31, 2014: Showboat closes
Sept. 1-2, 2014: Revel closes
Casino revenue: $1.5 billion (January-July 2014)
Casino employment: 31,777
Sept. 16, 2016: Trump Plaza scheduled to close
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