If it weren't for bad luck...

The Saturday morning storm that knocked out power to much of Atlantic County wreaked major havoc from which it may take days to recover. It also confirmed Atlantic City’s status as the Joe Btfsplk of casino jurisdictions.

Older readers may remember Joe from the classic "Li'l Abner" comic strip. He was the guy who perpetually appeared under a storm cloud. As www.lil-abner.com puts it, he was “the world’s worst jinx.”

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The cartoon character Joe Btfsplk seems to have a real-life counterpart in Atlantic City. Photo: www.lil-abner.com

It says here that as long as there’s an Atlantic City, Joe is only runner-up.

Right off the bat, there’s the one-two punch of a vibrant Pennsylvania gambling industry and a sour economy that has kept the casinos on the canvas for some five years now.

Then, a little more than a month ago, two women from Toronto were stabbed to death by a deranged homeless woman in the heart of the city’s casino strip—at 10 a.m. Making things even tougher for AyCee was the calendar—the murders—and the resultant awful, nationwide publicity--occurred just a few days before the start of the Memorial Day weekend.

And now Ma Nature piles on with a storm of biblical proportions that may keep the lights off for hundreds of thousands through July 4. Two results of the weather: An Atlantic County-wide state of emergency that severely restricts private automobile travel, and massive traffic tie-ups caused by the combination of out-of-order traffic signals and motorists not aware of the county’s decree (or those who've chosen to ignore it).

Once again, the timing is perfect: The Saturday before Independence Day. While the casinos’ power supply escaped damage, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for the thousands who no doubt planned to drive there tonight to actually get to their gaming hall of choice.

There is a segment of the population that, for various and sundry reasons, despises the seaside gambling Mecca and its lifeblood industry. At this point, however, perhaps pity, rather than contempt, is required for poor old Joe—I mean Atlantic City.

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