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For Atlantic City's hot dog vendors, it's mustard dispensers at 10 paces.

The influx of cost-conscious gamblers, who also seek cheap eats, has been a boon to the city's hot dog hawkers. So much so, in fact, that the number of hot dog carts has mushroomed. On a good day, a vendor can earn up to $250 selling the ''tube steaks.'' But this also has led to battles among mobile dogsters and between them and their stationary colleagues, who argue carts lend a less-than-high-brow touch to the city. Cart owners are in court fighting an ordinance limiting the number of hot-dog carts to 61. Price wars abound. One eatery is selling hot dogs for 29 cents, compared to prices of $1 or more at the pushcarts.

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Fortunately, violence - including tipped-over carts, fist fights, and fire-bombing rival carts - has dropped, says the Atlantic City Police department.

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