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Seashore Erosion Has Casinos Determined for Sand

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The ocean and seashores have at all times been part of Atlantic Metropolis’s id: from salt water taffy to Miss America bathing beauties to the title of the place itself, town has been marketed as a spot to have enjoyable by the ocean.

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However there’s a little an excessive amount of Atlantic in Atlantic Metropolis this 12 months because the essential summer time season approaches. Weeks of winter storms have badly eroded seashores within the northern part of city, leaving little if any sand on which to play throughout all however the lowest tides.

Executives with the three northernmost casinos: the Ocean On line casino Resort, Resorts and Onerous Rock, are urgent the federal and state governments to expedite a seashore replenishment mission that was speculated to have been carried out final 12 months.

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However below the present best-case situation, new sand gained’t be hitting the seashores till late summer time, based on the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers, the company that oversees such initiatives.

And that has the casinos involved about not having an important factor of their tourism enchantment. Atlantic Metropolis has lengthy mentioned its seashores set it aside from the plentiful playing choices elsewhere within the area and the nation. With out them, it may very well be a more durable promote in attracting vacationers and gamblers.

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“One of many highlights of coming to Atlantic Metropolis has at all times been the seashores and the Boardwalk,” mentioned Mike Sampson, basic supervisor of the Onerous Rock on line casino. “It’s going to be a problem.”

Onerous Rock misplaced its common seashore bar to repeated winter storms.

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“It was completely destroyed,” Sampson mentioned. “Components of it washed out to sea; particles remained on the seashore and needed to be disposed of.”

He mentioned Onerous Rock is hopeful it will possibly nonetheless hire out seashore cabanas and umbrellas this summer time, albeit on a smaller seashore.

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Sampson mentioned that “except somebody can intervene, it’s most likely going to be a post-summer fill.”

Something which may make folks much less more likely to come to Atlantic Metropolis is unhealthy information for the playing resort, which nonetheless has not recovered from the COVID-19 outbreak. Solely three of the 9 casinos are successful more cash from in-person gamblers than they did in 2019 earlier than the pandemic hit.

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And whereas web playing and sports activities betting has added new income streams to the equation, that cash have to be shared with companions similar to tech platforms and sports activities books, and isn’t solely for the casinos to maintain. That’s the reason the casinos contemplate cash gained from in-person gamblers to be their core enterprise — and why they want usable seashores.

Final summer time, the Ocean On line casino spent $600,000 to truck in and dump sand on its seashore, which was not in as unhealthy a form as it’s this 12 months.

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“How do you run a seashore resort and not using a seashore?” requested Invoice Callahan, Ocean’s basic supervisor. “It’s a tricky capsule to swallow.”

And an costly one: that sand shortly washed away, and even much less is left there now. At excessive tide, the ocean waves lap up towards the dune, which itself is badly eroded.

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“By the top of summer time, all that sand was gone,” mentioned Ian Jerome, mission director for Ocean’s effort final 12 months. “That isn’t a sustainable possibility.”

Of the dozen seashore entrances spanning the three casinos, solely two are accessible, he mentioned. The remainder simply dead-end in mid-air, with treacherous drop-offs that would trigger severe damage — or worse — ought to anybody fall from them.

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Atlantic Metropolis final acquired seashore replenishment in 2020, and was due for extra sand final summer time. However Congress didn’t approve funding for the mission then.

This 12 months, $25 million in federal funding is out there towards the $30 million price, of which the state pays a smaller proportion.

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However the authorities contracting course of doesn’t lend itself to fast fixes. Stephen Rochette, a spokesman for the Military Corps, mentioned a contract for the work shall be put out to bid in April or Could, with the work beginning “someday this summer time or within the fall.”

He mentioned the company is conscious of the tendency of Atlantic Metropolis’s northern seashores to erode at a extra speedy fee than different ones, and is finding out the state of affairs to see if any engineering enhancements might be added to the eventual mission design.

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Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts on line casino and of the On line casino Affiliation of New Jersey, mentioned the casinos need no less than a few of the mission to be carried out in early summer time — what he known as a potential “beach-lite” possibility.

“Everybody realizes the significance of getting this sand,” he mentioned. “The sense of urgency is actual.”

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