By now, most of you who read this column know that I am the kind of person who believes the glass is always half-full. The naysayers will tell us that Atlantic City is on a downward spiral and troubled days lie ahead.
However, let's take a look at some of the things that have been taking place in Atlantic City over the past several months and, upon examining them, I believe many of you will join me in believing that Atlantic City has a bright future.
The first good news came from Gov. Chris Christie's commission to study gaming and entertainment in New Jersey. Its findings noted that there should be no video lottery terminals or casinos anywhere in New Jersey except in Atlantic City. This was followed up in July by Christie's plan to develop an entertainment and gaming district in Atlantic City. The specifics of this proposal should be forthcoming. These items alone put a positive glow on the city.
The purchase of Resorts Atlantic City by Dennis Gomes and his partner, Morris Bailey, which should be completed in December, is another positive, resounding note for the future of Atlantic City. Gomes is a highly respected gaming entrepreneur whose record as the chief executive officer of the Tropicana Casino and Resort - and its development while he was at the Trop - speaks for itself. Being a part of the ownership will give him more opportunities to implement some of the excellent ideas that he has been sitting on for the past several years.
Added to this development is the news that the Golden Nugget, owned by Landry's Restaurants, is seriously considering the purchase of the Atlantic City Hilton. Most of you will remember that Steve Wynn built the Hilton property and ran it successfully. It would be nice to see the Golden Nugget name on top of that facility once again. If Landry's becomes the owners, it will be interesting to see which of its highly reputed restaurant brands will come to the resort.
Trump Entertainment formally announced that it hired a real estate firm to oversee the sale of the Trump Marina Hotel Casino. Originally, there were several offers to purchase the facility, but as the recession reared its ugly head, the price continued to plummet. It is anticipated that a buyer will soon come forth.
If you look at the above three items, the sale of one casino - and the possibility of two others - will bring new management and concepts to Atlantic City. The newcomers will hopefully bring fresh ideas, brighten up their facilities and possibly expand their present footprint. Resorts and Hilton have large sites adjacent to their present properties for expansion. There is a 19-acre lot, owned by MGM Mirage, that would be available for expansion of the Trump Marina, or they could use the space they have on their present property for a new tower.
Over the past several years, there has been concern about the lack of the events held in Boardwalk Hall. In a recent discussion with Jeff Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, he said the remaining portion of 2010 and 2011 will be a big year for events in the Hall and the Convention Center.
It's also interesting to note that the calendar of events for this fall and winter has several events that will be held on Friday evenings. The casinos and businesses in the community are delighted to know this, as Saturday evenings are generally good business-wise. and having an event on Friday evening will start the weekend in good fashion.
Boardwalk Hall's upcoming schedule includes: the "So You Think You Can Dance Tour" on Oct. 16; jam band Phish Oct. 29 to 31, which sold out all three nights in 30 minutes; popular country singer Toby Keith's "American Ride Tour" on Nov. 12; pop sensation Justin Bieber on Nov. 19; a middleweight championship fight between Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams on Nov. 20; the Legends Classic Basketball Championship with Syracuse, Michigan, Georgia Tech and Texas El Paso on Nov. 26; Caesars Atlantic City's "A Salute to the Golden Age of American Skating" on Dec. 11; the Miss'd America Pageant on Jan. 16; indoor auto racing on Jan. 28 and 29; international superstar Lady Gaga's return on Feb. 19; the Atlantic 10 men's basketball championship March 11 to 13; and the ECAC men's hockey championships on March 18 and 19. In addition to those dates, there will be five hockey matches featuring teams affiliated with the New Jersey Devils.
For information on all of these events, go to
I am naming all of these events because I am so pleased with the fact that Boardwalk Hall has at least two events almost every month over the fall and winter season. And there are more to come.
Without a doubt we will have another tennis match presented by Caesars in April featuring some of the top professionals in the world.
There also is another exciting event that will take place in the spring that will draw big crowds. An announcement will be made as soon as contracts are finalized. I believe that all of the above and future bookings show why I am so bullish about Atlantic City's future.
(Pinky's Corner airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND-AM 1400. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays NBC TV40. Pinky's e-mail address is: email@example.com.)