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Atlantic City can’t pass Go

Marketplace Staff Apr 28, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: Now here’s an honest to goodness marketing dilemma. You’ve got what might be the iconic American board game. You’ve sold bajillions of them. But not too many lately. And so you want to update.

Problem is the original game was based on a place that was the place to be back in the 1930s. And today, it’s kinda not. Hasbro has decided to roll the dice on its new Monopoly board. And Atlantic City has come up snake eyes.

The original board, as you might know, was almost entirely modeled on Atlantic City’s street and beachfront. The new edition isn’t quite as kind to the Jersey Shore. Marketplace’s Steve Tripoli has more.


STEVE TRIPOLI: No more Boardwalk? No Park Place? No Ventnor Avenue? . . . No Atlantic City brushoff is intended, says Hasbro’s Pat Riso.

PAT RISO:“What we’ve done is we’re re-creating Monopoly for the here and now.”

Which is exactly what’s wrong here and now, says Jeff Vassar of Atlantic City’s Convention and Visitors’ Authority.

JEFF VASSAR:“That’s the problem we have, is, Atlantic City is a modern-day destination.”

Here’s Vassar’s factual counterattack from Park Place. Atlantic City’s still one of the nation’s five most-visited destinations. There’s $3 billion in new investment. And Reader’s Digest last month named the beachfront Boardwalk — yes, that Boardwalk — the best in the US. But hey, says Hasbro’s Pat Riso, we’re just listening to the voice of the people.

RISO:“We asked Monopoly fans what they thought our board would look like if it were created for the here and now. And what they told us was it would be filled with America’s top tourist destinations.”

Twenty-two cities and 66 destinations in all — with not one in Atlantic City. Even though you can still vote online for vacation magnets like Houston’s Museum District and Pioneer Square in Seattle. Anyway, says Riso, we’ll still have the classic version of Monopoly that forever memorialized the Jersey Shore.

RISO: We have very, very warm feelings for the folks in Atlantic City. But for right now the online vote for here and now is not going to change.

Think again. Atlantic City’s Jeff Vassar has organized a counterinsurgency. You can go to atlanticcitynj.com and sign a petition to at least keep the Boardwalk in the new version. So, America . . . it’s your move.

I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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