When Did the First Casino Open in Atlantic City: Tracing the Birth of the City’s Gaming Industry


When did the first casino open in Atlantic City? This is a question that has puzzled many people over the years. Despite the significance of the city’s casino industry, the exact date of the first casino’s opening is not known to many. In this article, we will explore the birth of Atlantic City’s casino industry, tracing the history of the first-ever casino and providing an in-depth understanding of the industry’s growth.

The Birth of Atlantic City’s Casino Industry: Tracing the History of the First Ever Casino

Prior to the legalization of casino gambling in Atlantic City, gambling had been a popular activity in the city for many years. However, it was mostly confined to informal settings, such as back alleys and basements.

In the mid-1970s, a group of influential businessmen in New Jersey started to lobby for the legalization of casino gaming. They believed that it would help improve the state’s economy and provide employment opportunities for its citizens. In 1976, a referendum was held, and New Jersey residents approved the legalization of casino gambling in Atlantic City.

The first casino to open in Atlantic City was Resorts Casino Hotel. Developed by James M. Crosby and his partner, Morris Bailey, the casino was completed in just 18 months for a cost of $350 million. The project was the largest privately funded construction project in the history of the state at the time.

How a Decades-Old Ban on Gambling in New Jersey Was Lifted, and the First Casino Emerged in Atlantic City

Before the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey had a long history of gambling prohibitions. In the early 1900s, New Jersey was one of the first states to ban all forms of gambling. This ban remained in place for several decades, despite efforts by organized crime to bring gambling to the state.

In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a growing need for economic development in Atlantic City. Many of the city’s traditional industries, such as manufacturing and shipping, had declined, leaving the city in need of new sources of revenue. In 1976, the New Jersey legislature passed the Casino Control Act, which legalized casino gambling in the city.

Behind the Scenes: Unfolding the Story of Resorts Atlantic City, the City’s First Casino Establishment

The development of Resorts Casino Hotel was a massive undertaking. Construction began in 1977 and was completed just 18 months later, in May of 1978. The casino featured 33,000 square feet of gaming space, as well as a hotel with more than 500 rooms.

On opening night, more than 250,000 people lined up to enter the casino. The opening was a huge success, with Resorts earning more than $5 million in its first week of operations. In the following months, several other casinos, including Caesars Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City, opened their doors, and the city’s casino industry quickly became a major driver of the local economy.

From Boardwalk Empire to Casino Capital: Exploring the Rise of Atlantic City’s Gaming Industry

The opening of the first casino in Atlantic City marked the beginning of a new era for the city. Over the next several years, the city’s casino industry continued to grow, with several new casinos opening their doors. The city quickly became known as the “Las Vegas of the East Coast.”

However, the casino industry in Atlantic City was not without its challenges. By the late 1980s, nearby states, including Pennsylvania and New York, began to legalize casino gambling, which drew visitors away from Atlantic City. Additionally, the city faced other challenges, such as the decline of its traditional industries, which affected its overall economy.

A Look Back in Time: Celebrating 40 Years Since the Opening of Atlantic City’s First Casino

This year, 2021, marks 40 years since the opening of Resorts Casino Hotel, the first casino in Atlantic City. This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the city’s rich casino history and the legacy of the first casino to open its doors.

The opening of the first casino in Atlantic City marked a significant moment in the city’s history. It helped to transform the city into a major gaming destination and provided new opportunities for economic growth and development.


In conclusion, the opening of the first casino in Atlantic City marked a turning point in the city’s history. It played a significant role in the city’s development as a major gaming destination, and it continues to be an important part of the city’s economy.

Those interested in learning more about Atlantic City’s casino history can check out the Atlantic City Historical Museum and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which provides resources for visitors who want to learn more about the city’s history.

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