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Time to Dump Atlantic City?

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The casino hub’s protection from in-state competition due to expire in 2016

In 2011 New Jersey governor Chris Christie gave Atlantic City five years to get its act together before the state would consider expanding casino licenses to other parts of the state. More than two years after that statement things look worse than ever.

The East Coast casino hub has been all over the gambling news in recent years. The problem is that none of it is good. Last year the Atlantic Club and the Revel casinos filed for bankruptcy. Total casino revenue fell to $2.9 billion, the lowest in twenty-two years.

What an expanded casino market would mean for the state

Due to the quirks of American gambling laws, New Jersey has made a complex gambling market. Atlantic City is the only city which can host land-based casinos, although last year the legislature legalized online casino gambling.

Proponents of expanding licenses view Atlantic City as a lost cause, and argue that nearby casinos in Pennsylvania and New York are poaching money from the state. A casino project in the northern New Jersey Meadowlands has been proposed as a way to serve gamblers from both New Jersey and New York who are no longer willing to make the drive to Atlantic City.

It’s not certain how credible Christie’s threat to Atlantic City actually was. What is certain is that the former gambling hotspot is going nowhere fast.

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