Written By: Dan Pearson
August 15, 2014

Christie Calls for an Emergency Summit to Save Atlantic City Casinos

Governor Christie calls for an emergency summit  very soon to rescue casinos in Atlantic City. (Photo from nj1015.com)

Governor Christie calls for an emergency summit very soon to rescue casinos in Atlantic City. (Photo from nj1015.com)

Now it can no longer be denied—New Jersey is having a very huge problem with its Atlantic City casinos, and it needs to something about it ASAP.

Governor Chris Christie (if you want to see what’s his up with lately, you can view it here) has just called on an emergency summit specifically for that very critical issue. So far, there’s no specific date, but there’s a good chance it’s happening very soon. The main purpose of it is not just to determine the causes for the successive closures of these casino hotels and resorts but, more importantly, how to salvage problematic casino businesses and get themselves out of the slump. It’s expected that during the summit, all the major government officials and casino leaders will be present. Union leaders are also invited to attend.

Over the last year, we’ve seen even some of the biggest casinos closing down their doors for good, including Revel, which is actually new by casino standards since it opened only two years ago.

Its Effects on NJ Economy

Although many households and businesses are anxious about having casinos and, in general, more gambling in the state, it is also worth noting that this industry is making huge contributions to New Jersey. Its closure, therefore, can definitely hurt.

A 2010 report entitled “The Contribution of the Casino Hotel Industry to New Jersey’s Economy,” which was then submitted to the Casino Association of New Jersey, the Rutgers Project Team revealed that:

• Based on the 2008 data, casino resorts provided more output in revenues, jobs, payroll, and GDP than non-casino counterparts. For example, casino resorts generated over $5 million, which was 70% higher than the non-casino resorts. Over 60% of jobs in resorts were also in casinos.
• The casinos also generated around $700 million in terms of investment average ever year. It helped create over 3,000 local construction jobs and indirectly no less than 4,000 jobs for service and manufacturing sectors.
• Casino hotels and resorts contributed largely in the rejuvenation of its tourism, which had been declining since thirty-plus years ago. It didn’t have the same ritz and interest as its neighbor, New York City. More than 75% of tourists visited the state mainly for gambling. Such level of curiosity and interest eventually made Atlantic City the second best gambling destination in the United States after Las Vegas.
• It supported the state by providing around $110 million of tax revenues.

To put it simply, the continuous closure of these casinos can put the state in a severe economic crisis with the loss of jobs, revenues, and tourism. Recently, New Jersey received a junk status for its credit rating under Moody and more than 15% drop of property values.

But then, this problem also begs the question, “What’s causing all this?” We can blame many factors, but the biggest reason will be the passing of gambling laws of other states. As they also open their doors to this industry, whatever advantage New Jersey has is quickly lost.

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