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NY Post Column: Ban Brick-And-Mortar Gambling In Atlantic City, Let Online Betting Take Its Place

Op-Ed Says That Casinos Have Been Obscene Failure In Town


Ban gambling in Atlantic City? That’s what a Sunday column on the New York Post’s website calls for. The beachfront town has had Las Vegas-style gambling since the 1970s.

“It’s time for one last-ditch effort to save Atlantic City. They’ve tried everything else, so why not this one: Make gambling illegal,” the piece began strongly.

Last year, New Jersey lawmakers legalized online gambling in an effort to save the casinos. It has been a nice development for online poker players in the Garden State, but if the number of casino closures is how you gauge the success of Internet gambling in New Jersey, legalization has been an almost inconceivable failure.

According to the column, $261 million in state help (tax breaks) that went to Revel, the most expensive casino ever built in Atlantic City, comes out to $84,000 for each of the jobs that will disappear after the casino closes in the coming weeks (it wanted to close as early as today). In other words, the money arguably would have been better spent by giving $84,000 to 3,100 people in Atlantic City rather than building $2.4 billion Revel.

Along with Revel, two more Atlantic City casinos will close this fall. The shrinking of casino supply began in January with the closing of the Atlantic Club. By year’s end, Atlantic City will have just eight casinos, down from 12 to start 2014. To make matters worse, Deutsche Bank has predicted that the city will have six casinos by 2017. Beyond could be much worse.

The column cited the following data:

Thirty-eight years into the gambling experiment, unemployment in AC is still at 18 percent. Median household income remains less than half of what it is in New Jersey as a whole. The poverty rate in the city went from 22.5 percent in 1970 to 29.3 percent in 2011.

Many blame casino openings in nearby states for Atlantic City’s gaming revenue being in free fall. In 2006, gaming win was $5.2 billion. Now, it’s less than $3 billion annually, and its still dropping.

Some in the Garden State have talked about putting casinos outside of Atlantic City, but that idea doesn’t appear to have much support at the moment. Just last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a sports betting bill that would have circumvented federal law to allow Atlantic City casinos to offer the activity. Christie is eyeing a possible presidential run in 2016, so if he had signed the controversial bill it might have hurt his White House chances.

For what it’s worth, Christie once said he thought online gambling in New Jersey would yield $1 billion in revenue by July. That has turned out to be a laughable estimate, as online wagering revenue has been around $10 million per month. It began in November.

The New York Post column concluded that banning gambling in Atlantic City could make it “revert to being a charming Jersey Shore destination with low-rise hotels and family fun.” It said that keeping gambling to the Internet in the Garden State would be a better idea because “gambling […] would create less blight if people participated in it privately online, at home.”

The idea of banning brick-and-mortar casinos in favor of online ones is an argument very seldom heard, but with Atlantic City’s struggles, maybe anything is possible.



7 years ago

Who ever was in charge when the Revel open should be held accountabl
You can't tell me by not allowing the busses and keeping away smokers
hurt there chances, something is very wrong. Maybe the should have a person like Mr Steve Wynn take control and show these assholes.
How things are done.What a shame feel bad for there employees who are now looking for work.
Oh yea another thing you idiots in AC you had a buyer for the Atlantic Club but no you rather see the people lose there jobs because a poker site was shut down by DOJ Way to go