New Jersey Senate President proposes plan to boost Atlantic City casinos

New Jersey Senate President proposes plan to boost Atlantic City casinos

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has put forward a plan that has been designed to help boost the struggling Atlantic City casino market.

Atlantic City was previously the second-largest gambling hub in the US behind the gaming haven of Las Vegas in Nevada, but has suffered in recent times due to the evolution of markets in other states. 

So far in 2014, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Revel Casino and Hotel, Showboat and Trump Plaza have all shut down.

Under the plan proposed by Sweeney, casinos in the city would pay the municipal government a total of $150m (€121m) annually over two years. The state-run Casino Reinvestment Development Authority would also direct as much as $30m each year to help cover city debt payments.

Although the plan has been designed to help boost the city’s struggling gambling market, it would require schools and the municipality to make unspecified cuts of around $72m.

“One of the things we don’t want is for Atlantic City to become Detroit,” Sweeney said, according to the Bloomberg news agency. “Combined between schools and the municipal government in Atlantic City, it costs $377 million a year. That’s not sustainable.”

The plan will be discussed at a summit on the future of Atlantic City, which takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) and is due to be attended by state Governor Chris Christie and a number of key gambling executives.

The wider New Jersey gambling market faces an uncertain future with plans to introduce a legal sports betting service in the state currently on hold due to legal issues.

Under plans outlined by Christie earlier this year, casinos and racetracks in the state were last month due to begin offering sports betting services under the provision bets were placed on events outside of New Jersey to avoid conflict with a 1992 federal law.

However, the launch of such a service was halted by US District Judge Michael Shipp, who blocked the move after a motion was filed by four major North American sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The NFL American football league, NBA basketball, NHL ice hockey and MLB baseball, as well as the NCAA, have all spoken out against sports betting and opted to launch the legal challenge to prevent New Jersey from offering such a service.

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