International edition
June 23, 2021

State will also assume control of beach, boardwalk and marina

New Jersey Governor planning takeover of Atlantic City Casino District

(US).- A game-changing shift in power is about to come to Atlantic City as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to announce a takeover of the town's casino district. Under the plan, the state of New Jersey would assume control of all tourist areas of the seaside resort - including the boardwalk, beach, casinos, marina and shopping district.

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fficials told NBC Philadelphia that the move will strip city officials from controlling everything from sanitation to public safety. The takeover was born out of a state report that criticized the Atlantic City government and it's corrupt past.

Officials have been working hard to reinvent Atlantic City as much more than just a day tripper's gambling paradise. New resorts like The Borgata and updated food and nightlife offerings were meant to put the town more inline with Las Vegas, but those efforts still haven't been able to stop revenue losses.

While a takeover is controversial, officials say something must be done. "We're in a downward spiral, we have been for the last four years really," said New Jersey State Senator and former Atlantic City Mayor Jim Whelan. "Doing nothing is not an option. So there are some things we have to do."

The city's 11 casinos continue to see revenue declines as the country traverses the recession and fights increased competition from new casino offerings in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Atlantic City Councilman George Tibbitt says the state helped Atlantic City get to where it is by taking revenue generated by the luxury tax. "Atlantic City is one of the only cities in the state that doesn't get to keep their luxury tax money to put back into infrastructure. So the state has been constantly taking from us, so I welcome them to come here to help out with the problems that we face here," he said.

Headed by Jon Hanson, the Advisory Commission for the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory began looking at the state's gaming and overall entertainment operations in February.

The report calls for an expansion of Atlantic City's entertainment offerings by attracting more conventions, investing in non-gaming offerings like family amusements and possibly building a NASCAR racetrack, says The Star-Ledger. The perception of the resort's safety is also a concern, the report states. The neighborhoods surrounding the multi-billion dollar casinos have suffered from high crime and poverty.

The commission's report also calls for an overhaul of the state's gaming law, a disbandment of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the sell off the underperforming Meadowlands Racetrack and refinancing of the stalled us$ 1 billion Xanadu project at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, according to The Star-Ledger.

Christie is set to make the official announcement during a press conference in Atlantic City Wednesday at 2 p.m., officials told NBC Philadelphia.

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