Stephen Hankin on Atlantic City's Casino Closings

Stephen Hankin of Atlantic City's Hankin Sandman Palladino & Weintrob agreed that nongaming activity has sustained the bar in the city. Casino closures are "going to have a de minimis impact, in my view," he said.

Hankin Sandman represented Tropicana for 25 years before an ownership change stanched that flow. The Atlantic County Improvement Authority also is a former client.

But most practices are "not dependent on casinos at all," Hankin said, pointing to ocean, bay and pinelands construction, real estate development, water rights and dune litigation.

"We don't represent casinos anymore. We've gotten away from it. A lot of lawyers have," Hankin said.

"The demise of casinos was bound to happen," he added. "It's natural attenuation. It's supply and demand."

Hankin instead concentrates on real estate transactions and related litigation. "There is plenty of that here," he said. "There will always be plenty of that here."

The firm has done work in connection with the years-long redevelopment of the Steel Pier, according to Hankin, who also pointed to city-owned Bader Field, once a municipal airport, and the Pier Shops at Caesars as two other sites ripe for redevelopment.

Revenue has been steady at Hankin Sandman, but leaning totally on casino business over the years would have meant a different fate for the firm, Hankin said.

That "was my fear during the Trop years," he said. "Absolutely, we would have been out of business."