The New, Hip Atlantic City

Atlantic City, N.J., has become known as a gambling Mecca largely for the senior set. But that appears to be changing.

Trendy nightlife geared toward young folks has not been the city’s forte. In fact, comedians booked in the gambling town have been known to start their routines with a rap on Atlantic City’s lack of pizzazz.

But the last two years have seen a shift, beginning with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa which opened in 2003.

Along with advertising its racy “Borgata Babes” cocktail waitresses and offering high-end restaurants, the casino’s showroom has been booking contemporary performers.

Borgata also focuses more on table games than the profitable slot machines, assuming younger gamblers prefer the human-interaction of craps, blackjack, poker and the like. The strategy has made Borgata the city’s most profitable casino.

Others have mimicked the business plan, and in the two years since Borgata’s debut, the Tropicana Casino & Resort has seen a 20 percent increase in under-50 gamblers at the table games. Resorts Atlantic City, which booked Snoop Dogg in the past year and opened a trendy bar, has upped its gamblers under age 50 in the past 18 months from 39 percent to 60 percent.

The House Of Blues, located inside the Showboat Casino Hotel Atlantic City, brought in LL Cool J, mewithoutYou, Puny Human, and Avenged Sevenfold during December.

The median age of Atlantic City gamblers has thus dropped from 55 in 1998 to 52 in 2004, according to one study.

“It’s truly a delicate balance,” Resorts Atlantic City President Audrey Oswell said. “You don’t want to do anything that’s going to offend the older customer, which has been so loyal for so long. We’ve found that the young people and the old people can exist side by side, although we did have some people ask us who Snoop Dogg was.”