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Atlantic City courts gay tourism market, an important part of resort's growth strategy

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian holds a flag in Atlantic City, N.J., Monday, June 16, 2014. Atlantic City is planning a series of events to attract gay tourists, who are becoming an increasingly important part of the resort's growth strategy. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian holds a flag in Atlantic City, N.J., Monday, June 16, 2014. Atlantic City is planning a series of events to attract gay tourists, who are becoming an increasingly important part of the resort's growth strategy. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Atlantic City is planning a series of events to attract gay tourists, who are becoming an increasingly important part of the resort's growth strategy.

Mayor Don Guardian and tourism officials said Monday the goal is to reinvigorate a once-thriving gay community in Atlantic City.

Events include a 3-day beach party weekend in July, a networking event in September for the LGBT community, and September's Miss'd America Pageant, a drag spoof of the famous pageant.

The mayor also dedicated a gay-friendly beach in Atlantic City at Park Place near Bally's, but says the entire city is gay-friendly.

The resort is trying to broaden its appeal beyond a gambling mecca by emphasizing restaurants, shops, nightclubs, spas and other attractions.

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