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Showboat closes after 27 years in Atlantic City

N.J. continues to lose gaming jobs

  • In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

  • This June 27, 2014 photo shows the exterior of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    This June 27, 2014 photo shows the exterior of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

  • In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

  • This July 15, 2014 photo shows a sign listing previous performances at the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    This July 15, 2014 photo shows a sign listing previous performances at the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

  • In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
  • This June 27, 2014 photo shows the exterior of the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
  • In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo, demonstrators hold a rally at an Atlantic City, N.J. park before marching on the Boardwalk to protest the closing of the Showboat Casino Hotel on Aug. 31. Showboat is one of two Atlantic City casinos that are shutting down over Labor Day weekend. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
  • This July 15, 2014 photo shows a sign listing previous performances at the Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. The Showboat will close on Sunday Aug. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The show is over for the Showboat Casino Hotel.

The Mardi Gras-themed casino shutting down Sunday after 27 years on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Its owner, Caesars Entertainment, closed the still-profitable Showboat to reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City, which has been struggling with plunging revenue and increased competition.

“The Showboat has been in business in Atlantic City for 27 years, and all of us at Caesars are extremely proud of the 16 years that our company operated the property,” Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman wrote in a letter to employees. “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.

“When considering the legacy of the Showboat, I have no doubt that it will be the pride and resilience of the property’s team members that remain as indelible images in the hearts of our customers and colleagues for years to come,” he wrote.

Caesars still owns three other casinos in Atlantic City.

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.

Showboat is one of three Atlantic City casinos shutting down over the next two weeks. Revel will begin a two-day closing Monday, and Trump Plaza is closing Sept. 16.

The Showboat opened March 30, 1987, with the idea of taking the party atmosphere to a new level. It 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.”

Jeffrey Compton, publisher of CDC Gaming Reports, visited Atlantic City in the late 1980s and was struck by how much the casinos resembled one another.

“Breaking that rule was the Showboat,” he said. “It was longer and more spread out than the other casinos, and it had a wonderful party atmosphere, with a Dixieland band.”

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.

Legacy Comments1

More proof that the casino market is oversaturated, and not the answer in New Hampshire.

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