Casino Expansion Raises Concerns
Northern NJ Casino expansion stirs concerns
At the recent East Coast Gaming Congress, there was much debate on the effect that two new proposed casinos. The casinos proposed in the north will be detrimental on the remaining Atlantic City casinos. As reported by the Associated Press, Resorts Casino Hotel president Mark Giannantonio predicts that up to three Atlantic City Casinos would close as a result of the northern casino expansion projects. Further, Giannantonio stated “The second these two new casinos open in North Jersey, New York will retaliate violently.” He would expect that a move such as this will force New York’s hand. This will result in the subsequent establishment of casinos in the Manhattan area.
Others downplayed the Resort’s President’s comments. Steve Sweeny (D-3) said that the likelihood of getting the New Jersey voters to decide in November in favor of casino expansion in the North would be difficult. The issue will be up for referendum on the next ballot. Governor Christie also noted that the Atlantic City Casinos are currently on public life support. Any additional competition will only be at their detriment. Despite the revenue share resulting from any new casinos, Atlantic City will still be financially struggling if not crippled if approved.
Outsiders to the political fray are also expressing concerns. Financiers are pessimistic about the future of Atlantic City in the face of any new competition. The effect of losing gaming revenue from the north would exacerbate Atlantic City’s struggling market. Additional online gambling endeavors would worsen loses as well. Investment in Atlantic City would come to an abrupt halt, was quoted as said at the East Coast Gaming Congress.
Revenue share could help Atlantic City
Proponents of the proposal say that the only hope for Atlantic City is thro ugh the $200 million revenue share that would be provided as a lifeline from the North. Planning for two projects is on the boards currently for the Meadowlands in East Rutherford and Jersey City. Analysts stated that these projects are expected to be the most successful casinos in the country. This is primarily due to market conditions, i.e. the proximity to the New York Metropolitan area.
The Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural dismissed the comments of the demise of Atlantic City. He stated “The people that do those studies are the same ones who decided it would be a good idea to open Revel,” alluding to the $2.4-billion-dollar loss taken after its closure. Consequently, the projects are expected to pull from the New York market as opposed to southern New Jersey. The Jersey City project, backed by Reebok visionary Paul Fireman will be a $5 million investment. In addition to a possible 80 story hotel, there will be a golf course and nineteen restaurants.
We will have to wait until November to see how much support the expansion might have from the voters of New Jersey.