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Comment www.parkworld-online.com


Lessons learned on the Steel Pier


Over the years, Atlantic City as an entertainment destination has seen extreme highs and extreme lows. During Prohibition it became a popular destination, thriving by conveniently ignoring the Volstead Act, and again in the late 1970s following the legalization of casinos. It’s also had its extreme lows: it has been devastated by hurricanes and storms, and following the Democratic National Convention in 1964 the city was shown as dilapidated and as a blight. In recent years its reputation suffered when reporters highlighted the decreasing numbers of casinos. However, the boardwalk epitomises the ingenuity of the city and the way it continually comes back and survives, no matter what is thrown its way. Now, says Anthony T. Catanoso, America's Playground is thriving once again


Anthony Catanoso has been in the amusement industry for 30 years. He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and a partner in DOMEINAC, which owns and operates the new Observation Wheel. He holds a Master of Science degree in hospitality and tourism management from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


A


s the owners of the World Famous Steel Pier, we have watched the ebb and flow of our own business in a city that seems to emulate strongly our Crazy


Mouse ride. We were soaring as we watched Atlantic City gain a virtual East Coast monopoly on gambling, and become the second largest gaming destination in the US with more than $2.5 billion in gaming revenue and more than 25 million visitors. Then we found ourselves hanging on for dear life, as pundits and experts wrote the easy story, that Atlantic


City was fading away due to the increasing amount of tribal casinos, rather than looking any deeper and writing a more introspective review. When Hurricane Sandy hit, negative news articles implied the famed Atlantic City boardwalk was a woodpile – in reality it only impacted a small portion of the boardwalk that had rotted and was already scheduled to be replaced. Negative news articles continued to pile on a stigma that made it difficult for local business owners to attract capital, and impacted our tourism and convention business.


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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


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