Maryland Live heads to troubled Atlantic City to recruit


On Jan. 13, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will close and be stripped for parts. (Courtesy photo)

The house doesn’t always win.

One of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos — the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel — is closing on Jan. 13, leaving about 1,600 people out of work.

But some of them may be Maryland-bound before long: Maryland Live, the Free State’s largest casino, is holding a job fair in Atlantic City this week, with two days dedicated exclusively to soon-to-be laid-off Atlantic Club employees.

“The closing of the Atlantic Club is an unfortunate event that impacts many peoples’ lives,” Rob Norton, president and general manager of Maryland Live, told the Associated Press. “In this case, however, we have the opportunity to offset some of the job losses, as we are currently hiring to accommodate our growth. This is an opportunity for us to target a qualified pool of candidates from our industry within the same geographic region.”

Norton told the AP that Maryland Live is “seeking to fill hundreds of jobs across all departments.”

The openings include multiple jobs at the casino’s table-games division, where experienced dealers can start as soon as they’re licensed by the state. (Rookies first need to go through dealer school, a tough 12-week process that I wrote about last year.)

The Atlantic Club job fairs are being held Monday and Tuesday in the casino’s ballroom. Maryland Live will hold an open job fair Wednesday and Thursday at the Sheraton Atlantic City. (Casino officials note that job-seekers closer to home can always apply for open jobs, which are listed online.)

The Atlantic Club’s closing was announced just before Christmas, when a bankruptcy court judge approved the property’s sale to two competitors, who plan to shut the doors and strip the hotel and casino for parts.

The closure comes with Atlantic City mired in a serious slump. Over the past half-dozen years, competitive and economic forces have crushed the local casino economy, driving revenue down more than 40 percent, as I reported in a front-page piece.

“The situation there has become catastrophic,” Steve Norton told me last summer. (And he would know: Norton, a gambling analyst, has a long history in Atlantic City, where he opened the first casino, Resorts International, in 1978. His son, Rob, now runs Maryland Live.)

There were signs of apparent improvement late last year, with gambling revenue up slightly in October and way up in November — Atlantic City’s first back-to-back monthly increases since 2006, “just before the first Pennsylvania casino opened nearby,” the AP reported.

But, the AP noted, the rise was due to Superstorm Sandy’s impact a year earlier: “The increase — only the fifth in the last five years — was largely because Sandy forced the 12 casinos to shut down for six to nine days in late October and early November last year. The casinos showed an increase in August 2012, but that was a year after Tropical Storm Irene again forced casinos to close. Other year-over-year gains came in December 2011 and August 2008.”

J. Freedom du Lac is the editor of The Post's general assignment news desk. He was previously a Local enterprise reporter and, before that, the paper’s pop music critic.
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