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10 Cities That Bent Over Backward For Big Projects

Atlantic City, N.J.
Project: Casinos
Setting up Las Vegas by the sea sounds great, doesn't it? Only if someone else doesn't open another Vegas nearby.

We're not going to go into the entire history of Atlantic City casino gambling since it was legalized in 1976, its run as a substandard revenue producer for the state since that time or the gaping tale-of-two-cities disparity between the casino district and the rest of the decaying city.

What we will note, however, is that it's been a troubling time for the city since competition started cropping up. First there was big-budget "Vegas baby" redevelopment out in Nevada. Then came casinos in Connecticut. Then more in Pennsylvania. Then sports books in Delaware.

That doesn't even account for Atlantic City missteps including a $330 million tunnel for a Steve Wynn casino that never happened, a new casino at its end called the Borgata that went from star status to so-so once MGM (MGM - Get Report) pulled out and stalled projects at the now-destroyed Sands and the never-built MGM Grand Atlantic City. It got so bad that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered Revel Entertainment Group $261 million in tax credits just to finish a casino project that stalled when the company was sold by Morgan Stanley (MS - Get Report).

Today, Atlantic City's "tourism district" has been taken over by the state. Casino revenue, meanwhile, fell from a peak of $5.2 billion just five years ago to $3.3 billion last year -- or little more than the $3 billion generated by Pennsylvania's gaming facilities.

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