Sunday, Dec 04, 2016
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Atlantic City’s Showboat closes

Mardi Gras-themed casino shuts after 27 years on boardwalk

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The Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., closed for good Sunday. It is one of three N.J. casinos closing in the next two weeks.

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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 is one of three casinos closing within the next two weeks as Atlantic City deals with the impact of increasing competition from casinos in neighboring states.

Revel will begin a two-day closing today 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.”

Mr. 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 region’s saturated casino market.

The Showboat stopped admitting 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 Chief Executive Officer 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?”

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.

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