Atlantic City seeks to hone in on Asbury Park’s mojo

As a gambling mecca in search of a niche Atlantic City has failed.  Miserably.

But before they throw in the towel they’re determined to rebrand the city one more time.

Nucky Thompson, meet Joel Ballesteros.

From gay bingo nights at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort to “Out in Atlantic City” events at the Caesars Entertainment Corp. properties, Atlantic City is building a reputation as a gay-friendly tourist town.

The new owner of Resorts Casino Hotel has taken it to another level by hiring the gaming industry’s first marketing director devoted strictly to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, or LGBT for short.

Resorts’ appointment of Joel Ballesteros as director of alternative lifestyle marketing could be followed by something that would amp up the gay-party scene even more — the first gay nightclub at an Atlantic City casino

Up ’til now if you wanted to get your gay on at the Jersey shore then Asbury Park was the place to go.  Bruce Springsteen’s former stomping grounds seemed poised for a genuine revival after years of missed opportunities and broken dreams.  Asbury Park was the hippest gay-friendly town this side of Fire Island.  Cool bars, hot restaurants, and nut huts as far as the eye could see.  But then the recession hit and even the gay guys ran out of free-flowing disposable income. 

Now Atlantic City hopes to succeed where Asbury Park came up short.

I wish them luck.  If nothing else, the swimsuit competition at next year’s Miss America pageant should be very interesting indeed.

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