Atlantic City officials say the push to draw more visitors through non-gambling attractions is paying off.
New figures provided by the state Treasury Department show luxury tax revenues were up 12% in 2012 to $35.5 million, an all-time high. They were also up in 3 of the first four months of the year.
The luxury tax is collected on hotel rooms, show tickets, alcohol sold by the glass and beach chair rentals.
Gambling revenues are still key to the Atlantic City economy, and they are down for the seventh straight year.
But the chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, Matthew Levinson, told The Press of Atlantic City the rise in luxury tax revenue is a “huge positive.”
“It shows that we are looking like the resort destination that everyone wants us to be,” he said. “Although gaming revenue keeps the lights on in these buildings, this shows that people are still coming to town and spending money - spending money on things other than the slot machines.”
The latest numbers show “the trend toward more spending on entertainment and restaurants is clearly continuing,” said Israel Posner, executive director of the Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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