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Eroding dunes leave Atlantic City casinos desperate for new sand by summer

The ocean and beaches have always been a part of Atlantic City’s identity: from salt water taffy to Miss America bathing beauties to the name of the place itself, the city has been marketed as a place to have fun by the sea.

But there is a little too much Atlantic in Atlantic City this year as the crucial summer season approaches. Weeks of winter storms have badly eroded beaches in the northern section of town, leaving little if any sand on which to play during all but the lowest tides.
Executives with the three northernmost casinos: the Ocean Casino Resort, Resorts and Hard Rock, are pressing the federal and state governments to expedite a beach replenishment project that was supposed to have been done last year.


But under the current best-case scenario, new sand won’t be hitting the beaches until late summer, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that oversees such projects.

And that has the casinos concerned about not having an essential element of their tourism appeal. Atlantic City has long said its beaches set it apart from the plentiful gambling options elsewhere in the region and the country. Without them, it could be a harder sell in attracting tourists and gamblers.
“One of the highlights of coming to Atlantic City has always been the beaches and the Boardwalk,” said Mike Sampson, general manager of the Hard Rock casino. “It’s going to be a challenge.”

Hard Rock lost its popular beach bar to repeated winter storms.
“It was totally destroyed,” Sampson said. “Parts of it washed out to sea; debris remained on the beach and had to be disposed of.”

He said Hard Rock is hopeful it can still rent out beach cabanas and umbrellas this summer, albeit on a smaller beach.

Sampson said that “unless someone can intervene, it’s probably going to be a post-summer fill.”

Atlantic City dunesThe ocean and beaches hav[…]

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