Things are changing in Atlantic City. Long one of the most popular destinations in the northeastern United States for people who enjoy games of chance, Atlantic City has seen the number of visitors and revenues drop dramatically in recent years. But rather than panicking, Atlantic City casinos have been searching for solutions. There has recently been a very new millennium solution suggested to their problem of declining revenues. It has been posited that Atlantic City should focus more on mobile and internet gambling and consider closing the bricks and mortar casinos.
This has come on the heels of three of Atlantic City’s popular casino slated to close this year and many other teetering on the brink of insolvency. The suggestion, put forward by the New York Post, would have been laughed at, if not completely ignored, just a few years ago. But today many people are convinced it merits some serious consideration. They point to the fact that the hundreds of millions spent in an effort to bring people to the casinos have essentially been wasted because visitors and revenues have continued to decline.
While many responded to the suggestion with a smile and thought it had to have been made with tongue firmly jammed into cheek, the newspaper has maintained that the idea has some merit and at least deserves to be looked at as a viable alternative to sinking even more money into a dying enterprise. The Post article pointed out that the decline Atlantic City is dealing with is caused by a number of factors that will not be going to change or disappear any time soon. One of the most powerful and damaging of these is those new casinos are being built in neighboring states.
Those new casinos represent a major drain on the money that had made its way to Atlantic City and, by extension, the budget of New Jersey. For decades that money could be depended on to help to prop up the New Jersey budget. While those new casinos don’t mean all the casinos in Atlantic City will quickly be forced to shutter their doors, they definitely will continue to draw more and more money away from Atlantic City. So spending more to draw those customers back to Atlantic City’s brick and mortar casinos seem like a losing proposition.
The New York post is not the only entity which sees online casino gambling as the best option for Atlantic City. Ray Lesniak, New Jersey state senator, also sees online gambling as a viable option for Atlantic City. Lesniak has been telling many people that he feels focusing on online gambling can help Atlantic City increase its income significantly. He says an expansion of online gambling in Atlantic City will make Atlantic City an international online gambling hub and create jobs and bring in much needed tax revenue.
But many people do not agree with the New York Post and New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak. There are opponents who say that closing the brick and mortar gambling casinos will not bring in the revenue some anticipate. They say the slow pace of the growth of legalized online gambling since it was launched in New Jersey in November is evidence the scheme will not work. They say the prediction of analysts and politicians is an overly ambitious pipe dream. They say the small amount of money the state’s current online gambling program has generated so far proves their point.
According to the New York Post, the amount of money lost by trying to save the Revel Casino, which will still close soon, proves throwing money at the problem will not solve the problem. Investors had invested $2.4 billion in the venture and the state gave them $261 million in tax breaks. All this money still could not save the Revel Casino. They say the money would have been better spent if the state had paid the 3,100 employee who are about to lose their jobs $84,000 each. That would have been better for the soon to be unemployed employees.
Litigation and a veto by Governor Chris Christie defeated the latest attempt to bring in sports betting to help prop up the casino gambling operations. The bill had sought to get around the federal PASPA. Even worse for Atlantic City, Deutsche Bank predicted more casinos will soon close and Atlantic City will be down to only six casinos in the next three years. In their article the Post points out that unemployment in Atlantic City hoovers around 18 percent and the average household income is less than half than that of families that live in elsewhere in the state.
It makes their idea of focusing on online gambling in Atlantic City seem like the best option available for saving gambling in Atlantic City.