Once near death, Tropicana now No. 2 casino in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Ten years ago, Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino was on the verge of death, having been stripped of its casino license after its then-owners laid off vast swaths of the workforce, leading to filthy rooms, insect infestations, hourlong waits for slot machine payouts and food and drink orders that often never arrived.

Now, after years of reinvesting in and renovating the casino floor, hotel rooms and eateries, the Tropicana has become the No. 2 casino in the city in terms of gambling revenue — a position it will need to fight to retain as two additional casinos open on the Boardwalk this summer.

“It’s an incredible difference and transformation,” said Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment. “Employee morale was at an all-time low, customers were not happy with the facility and how it was being managed and were leaving in droves and revenues were declining on a monthly basis. Fast-forward 10 years to where we are today, I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve been able to accomplish over that time.”

The Tropicana ended 2017 second among Atlantic City’s seven casinos in terms of total gambling revenue with $390 million, trailing only the perennial market leader Borgata, which had more than $800 million. Internet gambling winnings worth $42.5 million helped Tropicana pass Harrah’s, which had long been the city’s No. 2 casino in overall revenue.

Eugene and Ruth Lee, of West Orange, enjoyed a recent stay at Tropicana, during which Ruth won $75 playing poker. “We like the restaurants here,” she said. “The variety of food is very good.”