For decades, Atlantic City had gambling pretty much to itself in our area. Not anymore.
KYW’s David Madden reports that casinos “down the shore” have had a hard time ever since Pennsylvania put slots in, three years ago.
Revenues at Atlantic City casinos are down 25 percent. So are jobs. Plans for new casinos have stalled. One now under construction is on hold.
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New Jersey governor Chris Christie is pushing for a state takeover of casino districts along the Boardwalk and in the Marina district (see related news story), in part to rejuvenate those projects and get tourists to come back:
“We’ve been a monopoly along the East Coast and that monopoly has led us, at times, to become lazy and to not adjust to the world that was changing around us.”
So what do you change? Regulation for one.
Linda Kassekert (right), chair of the state Casino Control Commission, agrees that reforms are in order. But compared to Las Vegas, for instance, she says Atlantic City spends a pittance on marketing itself:
“The gaming is great here. We think we offer a lot of amenities. But we need to remind people we also have great spas, great restaurants, great shopping, and Atlantic City’s really the place to come for a full experience.”
The casinos are embracing what the governor is trying to do. Mark Juliano at Trump (right) heads up the Casino Association of New Jersey:
“That’s the first time we have had somebody really not only say it but actually come down and start to do it, and begin the implementation of a plan that we can execute.”
It’s a plan that many experts suggest is Atlantic City’s best — and maybe last — chance to turn its fortunes around.
(Photo #1: file. Photos #2 and #3 by KYW’s David Madden)