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Harsh Atlantic City news story isn't the truth: Hurley

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Typically when something is utterly preposterous, the best approach is to simply just ignore it. 

However, a recent Business Insider magazine story was so blatantly intellectually dishonest, that I have chosen to address it head-on. The article is filled with a combination of old news and fake news that cannot and should not be left unchallenged. 

Almost every premise suggested in this hit piece is wrong. Let's start with the headline, which reads: "Atlantic City is now a Ghost Town." With the sub headline: "Atlantic City was once a bustling tourist hub - here's how it changed." 

On Atlantic City's worst day, it remains the number 3 largest and most successful gaming jurisdiction in America. Floating back-and-forth with Pennsylvania for the number 2 position. 

There are more than 25 million visitor trips to Atlantic City. While it's true that this is less than the 35 million trips in 2005, much has changed since then: A Great Recession, along with massive gaming jurisdictional competition in neighboring states and elsewhere around the country. 

By achieving 25 million visitors in the most recent year, this incontrovertible statistic alone completely debunks this specious attack on Atlantic City's viability as a destination resort. 

The most incredulous assertion made in this thinly disguised attack story, the writer cites a recent National Oceanic and Atmosphere Agency report that makes the case that Hard Rock International made a potentially bad purchase of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. 

The rationale is that this report warns of "the possibility of an extreme sea-level-rise scenario that could cause chronic flooding and have some coastal cities completely disappear underwater by 2100. One of the most at-risk cities, according to the report is Atlantic City." 

Since there was no way to make Hard Rock's decision to invest at least $ 800 million bad news for Atlantic City, the writer resorts to a desperate climate change argument to make good news appear to be bad news.

Here's the article:

Hard Rock International presently manages 11 casinos, 24 hotels and 174 cafes all over the world. Their decision to invest in Atlantic City was carefully measured and demonstrates that Atlantic City is presently a viable market and not a "Ghost Town." With a purchase price of $ 375 million and at least $ 400 million in re-branding and refurbishments, the facts further cements this reality. 

Another completely bogus premise is that Atlantic City's hey day was during the 1960's. Since 1854, Atlantic City has had many great eras. A great characteristic trait of Atlantic City is her ability to make necessary course corrections for the past 163 years and reinvent itself as needed to remain viable and desirable. 

The 1964 Democratic National Convention was one of the most significant disasters in Atlantic City history. To call the 1960's Atlantic City's "hey day" demonstrates either complete ignorance or purposeful intellectual dishonesty. 

In 2016, the Atlantic City casino industry generated more than $ 3.6 billion in revenue. In 1964, substandard hotel operators were not even able to provide VIP guests with towels and basic amenities. This poorly executed national event sent Atlantic City spiraling downward for the next decade before casino gaming was approved in 1976 for Atlantic City only. 

Under the heading perception versus reality, never under estimate the impact that a false report can have on you, your business, community, etc. For example, when national NBC television weatherman Al Roker falsely announced (on October 30, 2012) during the impact of Super Storm Hurricane Sandy that the Atlantic City boardwalk had been completely destroyed; this created an immediate false perception around the country that Atlantic City was not open for business. 

ABC News and many others quickly parroted this bogus report. Here was ABC's actual news report on the morning after the storm hit more than five years ago: "But as Hurricane Sandy made landfall last night around 8:00 p.m., the famous boardwalk quickly fell prey to the storm's damaging winds and heightened sea level." 

It never happened. Yet, millions of people thought it did. It has taken years to undo this damage in the eyes of convention, meeting, tour and travel planners. To this day, many people still believe this fake news and ask "Has your boardwalk been rebuilt, yet?" 

Not only is Atlantic City not a "Ghost Town, it's in the midst of a booming Summer, 2017 season. Great daily and weekend business, coupled with successful beach concerts and the upcoming 15th Annual Atlantic City Air Show, "Thunder Over The Boardwalk" on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 are just some of the success stories. 

You must pick and choose what to respond to and what to just leave alone without comment. This is one of those times whereby I felt compelled to respond because the allegations were so blatantly egregious and false. 

A fair examination of the true record and present turnaround of Atlantic City deserves a storyline that more accurately reads: Atlantic City is in the Midst of a Great Resurgence; with a sub headline that reads: The Future is Bright. 

That's our story and we should stick to it.

Harry Hurley is the president of Harry Hurley Consulting and Communications, LLC. He hosts the daily talk radio program "Hurley in the Morning" 6-10 a.m. weekdays on Townsquare Media, WPG Talk Radio 1450, where he also serves as the senior programming consultant. Hurley has hosted various programs for local television and is the editor and publisher of his news and information website, Send comments to

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