America's answer to Blackpool is 'like a war zone' with closed hotels everywhere

The casinos suffered hugely from the enforced closures of Covid
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Many British seaside towns have seen better days as cheap overseas flights have made foreign destinations more accessible.

However, this issue isn't unique to the UK, according to YouTuber Wendall. He compares the declining New Jersey gambling hub, Atlantic City, to "a cross between Las Vegas and Blackpool".

But Atlantic City's decline has been more dramatic than some of its British counterparts. Locals describe the streets behind the main seafront's Boardwalk as "a war zone" at night. Reflecting on the downfall of "America's roughest seaside town", Wendall observes: "In Blackpool there's closed hotels and sights like this but not on this scale."

Atlantic City experienced its first major boom in the early 20th Century, and during Prohibition, it was known as one of the few places Americans could reliably find a drink. This boozy era was immortalised in the HBO hit series, Boardwalk Empire, reports the Mirror.

The city became a hotspot for organised crime figures such as Al Capone, but its allure began to fade after World War II and by the late 1960s, Atlantic City's reputation was deteriorating.

In an attempt to revive the city's fortunes, local authorities legalised gambling. While the casinos brought in revenue, they also brought their fair share of problems.

"When gambling came in, it got worse," explained one local: "You had all kinds of people coming from other cities trying to rob people."

"You would pull up at a red light, waiting to go into the casino parking, and there were guys with shotguns robbing people at the red lights."

The threat of violence persists in Atlantic City, with the leisure industry severely impacted by the Covid pandemic, leaving many locals struggling to make any kind of living.

Even as kids make their way to school in the mornings, there's open warfare on the alleyways behind the city's famed Boardwalk, an Atlantic City resident revealed. They said: "It's like you're in the middle of a war zone."

Another local, the manager of the Atlantic City branch of Hooters, warned visitors about a particular road they should avoid. He advised: "You cross over Atlantic Avenue, you don't want to be over there. It's literally two blocks over and it's a whole different world over there."

"There's a lot going on that you want to kind of keep away from," he added.

He attributed the city's issues largely to poverty, saying: "There's gangs, there's a lot of homeless people there's a lot of drugs going on. It's a shame you see them all the time, they frequent the Boardwalk looking for money."

A homeless man living on the streets of Atlantic City cautioned that the streets were rife with predators. He warned: "It's dangerous if you look weak. People are going to see weakness in everybody and they're going to take advantage of that."