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How Atlantic City went from a bustling tourist hub to a ghost town



This week, The New York Times reported that Republican nominee Donald Trump "avoided reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income" by stretching a loophole in a way they say was legally questionable.

Much of that money can be traced back to Trump's investments in his three Atlantic City casinos, which The Times said were "failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing." All three of the casinos had filed for bankruptcy by 1992, and the last one bearing his name, the Trump Taj Mahal, closed at the beginning of October. Trump Entertainment Resorts had become a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises in February 2016.

Atlantic City was once New Jersey's largest tourist attraction. As the first city to provide gambling outside of Nevada, it provided those on the East Coast a place to vacation on the beach and gamble. 

But the city has seen hard times these past few years; five of the city's 12 casinos closed between 2013 and 2016. Atlantic City's unemployment rate is 7.1% (well above the national rate of 5%), and its mortgage-foreclosure rate is America's highest

Now coming into winter, typically the city's off-season, the streets and boardwalk of Atlantic City look more like a ghost town than a tourist hub. 

SEE ALSO: Inside the $200 million, presidential-themed hotel Donald Trump just opened a mile away from the White House

Atlantic City's true heyday was in the early 1960s, when traveling cross-country was not economical for most families.

Even before gambling was legal in the area, the city served as the East Coast's go-to beach destination. Now, even on a 90-degree day the beaches can feel eerily empty.

Opening its doors in the summer of 1978, the Resorts International Casino was the first casino to open in Atlantic City. It was the first time gambling was legal outside of Nevada, and it was a bold attempt to bring more tourists to the area.

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