ATLANTIC CITY - Atlantic City's Showboat Casino Hotel is sinking and it is taking 2,100 jobs with it.
The parent company says the casino will shut down on Aug. 31. Caesars Entertainment issued a news release this morning saying the company will shutter the poorest-performing of its four Atlantic City casinos.
"While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a necessary step to help stabilize our business in Atlantic City and support the viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity," said Gary Loveman, chairman and chief executive officer of Caesars Entertainment.
Mayor Don Guardian says it's a sad day for Atlantic City, but a needed step for the city to move forward. "It's really part of the transition that Atlantic City needs to have," he says. "It is critical that Atlantic City realize that we're no longer the monopoly for the east coast on gaming."
Long-time Showboat employees like Loretta Bain, of Brigantine, take the decision personally. "This has been my life for 22 years," she says. "I don't know what I'll do."
The president of the union that represents nearly half of Showboat employees called the closure of the profitable casino "criminal." But Showboat officials say the closure is due to a decline in customers and soaring property taxes.
It will be the second casino to close this year in Atlantic City. The Atlantic Club closed in January.
Revel Casino Hotel has warned it might shut down if a buyer can't be found in bankruptcy court.
Caesars Entertainment says it is offering assistance to Showboat employees displaced by the decision, including providing preference for available positions at the three remaining Caesars-affiliated Atlantic City properties.