Atlantic City Casino Gets a Gay Bar!
WAYNE PARRY of
The Associated Press
reports that For the first time in its 33-year history of legalized gambling, Atlantic City has a permanent gay nightclub in one of its casinos.
Prohibition opened its doors Thursday at the Resorts Casino Hotel, marking the city’s strongest bid yet in a yearslong effort to attract one of the tourism industry’s most sought-after demographic groups.
“It’s long overdue for Atlantic City to have a club like this,” said Joel Ballesteros, the casino’s new director of marketing for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender communities. “It filled right up and people danced until 3 o’clock in the morning. With the rainbow flag flying outside and all the energy in here, it felt like a celebration.”
“A lot of casinos have done things for the gay and lesbian community, but never to this level,” he said. “They’d do a weekend or a night or hold a special event. But this is what this community wants and needs.”
Atlantic City has long been popular with gays, dating back before New Jersey’s first casino — Resorts — opened in 1978. John Schultz, a former city councilman and philanthropist, once owned nine gay clubs during the 1970s. Back then, he said, 250,000 gay visitors would come to Atlantic City on holiday weekends.
People think gays don’t gamble,” Schultz said. “That’s not true. They gamble. They drink. They like to travel. And they have that extra income. Why do cruise lines have gay weeks? Because 2,000 to 3,000 gay people who can afford it go on their ships. It’s a new world now.”
Previously reported here, The four Caesars Entertainment casinos in Atlantic City — Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City and the Showboat Casino Hotel — have hosted “Out In Atlantic City” weekends in recent years, and the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort hosts “gay bingo” nights.
“I believe love is the most powerful force in the universe, and when you believe that, you have to welcome everyone,” he said. “You can’t say, ‘You’re not important enough to come to our facility during its peak periods.’ I want to embrace this community because I love them. I really do.”