The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Showboat casino closes after 27 years of Mardi Gras on Atlantic City Boardwalk

  • Print

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - The show is over for the Showboat Casino Hotel.

The Mardi Gras-themed casino shut down Sunday after 27 years on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. It was one of three casinos closing within the next two weeks as Atlantic City deals with the impact of increasing competition from casinos in neighbouring states. Revel will begin a two-day closing Monday, and Trump Plaza is closing Sept. 16.

One of the final songs piped in over the Showboat's loudspeakers: Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust."

"We're all feeling a little betrayed," Showboat cook Curtis Wade said. "We're all walking around in a fog today. We worked really hard to try to keep it operating, and we're still profitable. We still don't understand why we were the one targeted to close, and nobody has given us an answer on that. There are too many jobs being pushed out of Atlantic City due to corporate greed."

Wade will be among the thousands of workers showing up at the Atlantic City Convention Center on Wednesday for a mass unemployment filing.

The Showboat's owner, Caesars Entertainment, closed the still-profitable casino to reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City, which has been struggling with plunging revenue and increased competition in the saturated northeastern U.S. casino market.

The Showboat stopped admitting new customers at 3 p.m. Sunday. At 4 p.m., security guards emerged to tape to the glass doors paper signs that read, "Closed."

Inside the casino, recordings urged customers to patronize Caesars Entertainment's three remaining casinos in Atlantic City: Caesars, Harrah's and Bally's.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman wrote in a letter to employees that the Showboat has been in business in Atlantic City for 27 years and Caesars was proud to operate it for 16 years.

"I want to thank the Showboat Atlantic City team for their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to our guests — both throughout the years and especially over the past several weeks," he wrote.

Ruth Ann Joyce, who worked at Showboat as a bartender since the day it opened on March 30, 1987, was bitter on its last day.

"For 36 years (Atlantic City's casinos) were the cash cow," she said. "Now you're just going to kick us to the curb?"

She urged potential buyers to take a chance on the Showboat — as long as Caesars doesn't put the same kind of deed restriction prohibiting a new owner from running it as a casino as it has with two recent sales of former casino properties.

Outside the Showboat, a security guard who had been preventing would-be customers from entering was greeted by a longtime customer who came to say goodbye and ask how the guard was doing.

"I got a job at ShopRite," the guard replied.

More than 470 of the Showboat's 2,000-plus workers are transferring to other casinos the company owns in New Jersey or in other states.

The Showboat was designed as a New Orleans-style riverboat casino with a Mardi Gras theme. It even had a bowling alley for folks who needed a break from the slot machines and table games.

Kurt Williams, of Seaville, was a young boy when his family took him to the Showboat soon after it opened.

"There was a fun vibe to the Showboat, especially for a wide-eyed young kid like me at the time, and it was the only resort in town that had a bowling alley," he said. "It's really a shame all these resorts are going belly up, and I feel awful for the surrounding communities and the families it will affect."

Elizabeth Scarnati, of Cortland Manor, New York, is still excited about a $12,000 jackpot she won last year playing slots at the Showboat.

"I always loved this little casino, especially those suites in the Bourbon Tower," she said. "I was lucky enough to stay in the one on the top floor, oceanfront, with the wraparound balcony. I will miss the Mardi Gras casino a lot."

Atlantic City began the year with 12 casinos, but before summer is over it will be down to eight. Nearly 8,000 casino workers will have lost their jobs.

___

Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Police speak out on Red River search

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060710 The full moon rises above the prairie south of Winnipeg Monday evening.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think volunteers dragging the Red River is a good idea?

View Results

Ads by Google