Gov. Chris Christie wants greater role in Atlantic City

Oct 14, 2013 7:10 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sees the need for a greater involvement by the state in the operation of Atlantic City, suggesting the state take a more aggressive role in governing the gambling mecca.

Speaking to the editorial board of The Press of Atlantic City last week, Christie, a solid favorite to win re-election, said there is a state law that would give him broad, sweeping powers to overrule any efforts by city government to interfere with state authority.

The newspaper report by staff writer Steven Lemongello came shortly after New Jersey gaming regulators reported Atlantic City gaming revenue during the month of September fell to $240.2 million, 12.9 percent lower than the amount reported a year ago.

Since being elected governor, Christie has been very involved in the gambling affairs of Atlantic City. He ordered the creation of the Tourism District and placed the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in charge. Even with changes, and the tax assistance given to the $2.2 billion Revel development, the city’s gambling experience has continued to decline.

Of major importance to help turn things around, Christie told the newspaper, was expanding traffic at Atlantic City International Airport in order to make Atlantic City a “destination resort and an active convention resort.”

Christie said he was satisfied with the work of both the CFDA and the Atlantic City Alliance but noted expanded gambling in nearby states has impeded local growth. “We are no longer going go be the dominant gaming venue east of the Mississippi. Those days have come and gone.”

The governor did not touch upon the state’s move into Internet gambling scheduled to begin next month. Already, the state has granted the first Internet gambling license to the Borgata, the largest casino in Atlantic City, which is co-owned by Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) and MGM Resorts International (MGM). The other licenses are expected to follow soon.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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