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New Jersey to Offer Relief to Atlantic City Casinos

- June 5, 2017 By Oliver Young -

Governor Chris Christie reportedly “pledged” to provide relief to existing Atlantic City operators

New Jersey will be introducing new legislation in the upcoming weeks that are to give Atlantic City casinos some relief and stimulate the growth of the industry in the city, Governor Chris Christie revealed in an official press conference last Thursday. The expected time by which the legislative changes are to be revealed is within 30-45 days of the announcement, according to local media, but no specifics are known at this time as to the type or scope of the relief operators will be given.

The new regulations will be coming years after the state last reformed its legal framework to stimulate growth in the land-based industry and attract investors. It was in February 2011 that a change of legislative was introduced to deregulate the market and allow for better licensing terms, among other things.

Reforms to Cater to Existing Operators

The press conference came just after Gov. Christie met with the heads of two of the biggest Atlantic City operators – MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Both MGM and Caesars have invested plenty in the city, with MGM even spending $900 million last year to buy off a 50% stake in the leading Borgata Casino to become its sole owner.

As was reported, CEOs from both companies met with Christie to inform him they plan to keep investing in the city, but also asking for reforms to existing regulations. Christie reportedly gave a pledge to the companies that the administration will draft new reliefs to the existing legislation, with no public comment on their final form but just an approximate date of their reveal. He told the media that the administration will be working with the operators to take the current regulations “into the 21st century”.

Speaking to the press, Gov. Christie said the three had an “exciting” meeting about Atlantic City’s future and that both companies told him they were ready to continue investing. MGM CEO, Jim Murren, also commented by saying that his company wouldn’t have invested billions if they didn’t believe there was future in the city. Marc Frissora, Caesars CEO, shared the enthusiasm by saying that they know the future is bright in Atlantic City.

Atlantic City Casino Revenue on the Rise

The promise for relief comes in a time when Atlantic City casinos are seeing an uptick in revenue after suffering a decline in 2015 and facing problems with the workforce after new measures were introduced to revive the industry. According to recent numbers, the total gambling revenue in March 2017 was up by 17% when compared to last year, or $31 million dollar higher, to be more precise.

The online industry has been doing especially well in the past few months, with the latest report showing there was a 22.6% increase in online gambling revenue in April 2017, year-on-year. The biggest online earner in April was the Golden Nugget, with the MGM-owned Borgata coming in second. MGM recently announced they are teaming up with Party Poker to provide an even better online product in the city and take over the lead.

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