The smart money, big crowds, big traffic jams, big parking headaches and a truly big holiday weekend stayed away from Boardwalk hotels here yesterday. So far the only action is in the new casino.
While yesterday's dreary, drizzly weather kept crowds off the beach and Boardwalk, Resortss International Hotel Casino was hopping with excited gamblers and sightweers eager to make the second day of the frist casino scene in the East.
"This weekend's still the biggest Memorial Day weekend we've had in years," said Marvin Ashner, head of the Atlantic City Hotel-Motel Association. "Anybody's who's inside the casino couldn't care less if it's sunny, raining, blowing or snowing."
The casino crowed hovered around 5,500, the room's capacity, throughout most of Friday and yesterday. Casino guards had to chase many of 3,000 diehards from the slot machines when dealers finally called it quits at 6 a.m. yesterday.
A crowd of several thousand was waiting to begin gambling again when the casino reopened four hours later.
By mid-afternoon, would-be gamblers were lined up four abreast in a line stretching along the Boardwalk for more than a block - and the line was growing.
A casino employe with a bullhorn was walking up and down announcing, "The faclities of Resorts International are full. If you would like to use our faclities, there will be a minimum of a two hour wait."
"There are no big crowds for us," said police traffic supervisor Joseph Merendino. "It's not even a normal Memorial. "It's not not even a normal Memorial Day weekend, with weather like this."
Nevertheless, this resort's 301-member police force continued on emergency 12-hour shifts just in case.
State police, who were ready to turn away cars if expected casino and holiday crowds got out of hand, reported generally light traffic Friday night and yesterday morning, the traditional time for the summer weekend rush to the New Jersey shore.
Local police had feared that more than 400,000 cars - twice that of recent Memorial Day weekends - might try to get to this small island city. State and Resorts International transportation experts recently told the New Jersey Casino Control Commission that the size of opening weekend crowds would be "anybody's