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high rollers

Atlantic City’s History of High Rollers

The glamorous Atlantic City coastline.

Image by Bob Jagendoff / CC BY 2.0

There’s one thing New Jersey knows, and it’s how to have fun. Far from living in the shadow of its Big Apple neighbor, with its big-name Broadway shows, the state has led the way in entertainment for years. Such has been in no small part due to one of the most permissive legislatures in the land who have been at the forefront of gaming on the seafront of Atlantic City.

From Revolution to Education

New Jersey lotteries have made a significant contribution to the local economy for many years, funding everything from American Revolution troops to Ivy League colleges such as Princeton. The state was the first to vote for a state lottery and the first to allow players to choose their own numbers, with the launch of Pick 3 in 1975. Perhaps more importantly, it was only the second state, after Nevada, to permit casinos, paving the way for the bright lights and big dreams of Atlantic City.

A Bright Start

Revitalized by this crucial vote in 1976, Atlantic City quickly blossomed from a fading seaside town into a major resort. The first-ever casino was Resorts Casino, which grew from the once magnificent but now crumbling Chalfonte-Haddon Hall hotel. Such set the tone for the revitalization of the aging resort, with several other casinos breathing new life into tired hotels, including the Tropicana, which gave new purpose to the old Ambassador Hotel.

Within just a few years, Atlantic City grew from being yesterday’s news to the hottest holiday destination in America. No less than 16 casinos sprang up in the city by the sea, attracting investment from far and wide, such as a young Donald Trump, who plowed a reported $1 billion into the glamorous Trump Taj Mahal.

Many of these original casinos are still with us, including the pioneering Resorts Casino as well as Bally’s, the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, the Golden Nugget and the previously mentioned Tropicana.

Turbulent Fortunes

Unfortunately, just like a trip to the casino, Atlantic City has seen many ups and downs in its short history. Following its spectacular launch, the city enjoyed a great run of luck, attracting visitors from across the country and around the world. A playground for the rich and famous, the city not only hosted top-quality casinos but also hosted international sporting events like world title fights, featuring the legendary Mike Tyson.

Sadly, those days were not to last. As more and more states legalized casinos, rising to 20 of the 50, Atlantic City’s unique selling point faded fast. By 2010, the number of casinos had dropped to only 12, and by 2018, it was down to seven. Fortunately, the city appears to have taken a turn for the better in the last 12 months, with two new casinos, the Hard Rock Atlantic City (formerly the Trump Taj Mahal) and the Ocean Resort Casino (formerly the Revel) both opening their doors last summer, and the total number of establishments back to a healthy 10.

Image by Wcam/ CC BY-SA 4.0

Online Innovation

Of course, New Jersey has not only led the country with brick-and-mortar casinos, but it has been a pioneer online, too. There a dozen online casinos based in New Jersey, with the state being only the third to allow online gaming in 2013. In real New Jersey style, all 12 operators launched simultaneously in a spectacular event on November 21, 2013 and have since generated over $100 million in tax revenue for the state every year.

Far from challenging their physical counterparts, smart thinking on behalf of the legislators has helped to protect the physical casinos. License terms insist that every online casino must have servers located in a corresponding brick-and-mortar establishment.

The Future of Fun

For many players, it is not a case of choosing between online and physical casinos. In many ways, the two complement each other, as demonstrated by the launch of two new multimillion-dollar ventures in the city. New players often use online casinos to learn the games before their visit to a glitzy gambling hall while more established players will use them to hone their skills ahead of a high-rolling night.

Whichever style of gaming you prefer, from the keyboard to the boardwalk, from the virtual to the physical, New Jersey has always been and always will be the place to play.

#HipNJ Celebrates National New Jersey Day

Today is National New Jersey Day, and #HipNJ wants to help you celebrate!

National New Jersey Day is an event created by National Day as part of a weekly project recognizing each state in the order it joined the union. While New Jersey was the third to enter the union, it was the first to sign the Bill of Rights.

New Jersey has so much to offer, so we put together a guide for your Jersey-themed day.

Start off your day by heading to a Garden State diner, maybe Tops Diner in Newark, and picking up a Taylor Ham, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. This is the perfect way to get yourself excited for a day at the Jersey Shore.


Taylor gang is on its game today #njdiners #topsdinernj #topsdiner #foodandwine

A post shared by The Tops Diner (@thetopsdiner) on

Now, get in the car and hit Parkway South. A trip to the beach is never complete without some great music, so create a playlist featuring only NJ natives. Here are some suggestions:

  • Whitney Houston
  • Bon Jovi
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Queen Latifah
  • Lauryn Hill and the Fugees
  • Jack Antonoff of Bleachers
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Ashley Tisdale
  • Lea Michele
  • Halsey
  • Charlie Puth

Think those are enough artists to create the best playlist you have ever heard? We definitely think so.

Time to hit the beach! Are you heading to Atlantic City, Point PleasantAsbury Park or Wildwood? Not today! Today, you’re hitting on of NJ’s most notorious summer spots, Seaside Heights.

Spend the day swimming and tanning, then spend the night walking the iconic (maybe for the wrong reasons) boardwalk. Get a cheesesteak at Midway Steak House and win some dessert on the candy wheel.

The beach isn’t for you? No worries! A day celebrating New Jersey can take many forms. You can appreciate nature by taking a hike in Sussex County. Enjoy the breathtaking views while getting some cardio. Then, head over to a drive-in movie.

Sometimes, all we want to do is stay home and have a night in. So, order some pizza from your local pizzeria, get comfy, and turn on a New Jersey inspired TV show or movie. Here are our suggestions:

  • The Sopranos
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • This Is Us
  • House
  • Cobra Kai
  • Date Night
  • Garden State

New Jersey, thank you for all of the opportunities you give us to enjoy life.

If you do anything on this list, be sure to post a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #NationalNewJerseyDay!

Morris County Historical Tours for Summer 2018

The Morris County Tourism Bureau is introducing an annual summer walking tour and lecture series, and #HipNJ has all you need to know.

Experience the rich history that Morris County offers on any one of nine successive Saturday mornings for walking tours during June, July and August.

These tours really dig into the rich history of Morris County, which played such an important role in the founding of our nation,” said Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers.  “I urge all county residents to join one of the great tours to see that history first-hand.”

Some of the 2018 summer programs will be held only once, and others multiple times. Starting times and places vary.  Tours last between 60 and 90 minutes. Tickets are $15.00 per person.

For a breakdown of the tours offered, see below.

  • Discover Morristown’s People and Places Walking Tour
    • Saturdays: June 16 and July 7 at 11:00am

Take a leisurely walking tour through Morristown with author Bonnie-Lynn Nadzeika, former director of the Morris County Historical Society. Her postcard book on Morristown will come alive as she points out architecturally important buildings that sit within the Historic District, and hear the stories of past and prominent Morristonians.

  • Discover The Seeing Eye Walking Tour
    • Saturday, June 23 at 9:30am

North America’s first guide dog training school, The Seeing Eye of Morris Township, was founded in 1929 by Morris Frank. During this tour, you’ll learn about the history of The Seeing Eye, walk the streets of Morristown where the dogs train, and watch how the dogs interact with their owners. The tour will be led by the Seeing Eye’s director, Jim Kutsch, his wife Ginger, and their Seeing Eye dogs.

  • Discover Victorian Morristown Walking Tour
    • Saturdays: June 30, July 14, August 4 at 11:00am

Learn about one of the grandest periods in Morristown’s 300-year plus history- Victorian Morristown. Your guide will be Karen Ann Kurlander, a local expert in the period. Walk through Morristown, visiting commercial and residential buildings in the Historic District that date from 1850-1910. Karen Ann will also enlighten you on the social customs of the day, and explain how the houses known as “painted ladies” came to Morristown.

  • Discover Colonial Morristown Walking Tour
    • Saturdays: July 21 and August 11 at 10:00am

This unique walking tour will cover a mile through Morristown visiting sites associated with General George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Lafayette’s stays here in 1777 and 1779-80.  Your guide will be Patricia Sanftner, an expert on Colonial life in Morristown and on Alexander and Betsy Schuyler.

  • Discover American Presidents and First Ladies Annual Curator’s Talk
    • Saturday, July 28 at 10 am

Visit Morristown National Historical Park for this special lecture/show & tell program to be given by Jude Pfister, Chief of Cultural Resources. While the park displays and interprets the events of two winter encampments by the Continental Army, its archives span the years 15,000 B.C. to the 20th century and include 500,000 objects, many of which have never, and never will be, on display to the public.

This year’s program will highlight items in the collection that directly relate to American Presidents and First Ladies.

To learn more, click here.