Atlantic City is a case study that flashes a red-light warning to Florida on what would happen if we legalized mega-casinos in our state. These days Gov. Chris Christie and the NJ Legislature probably spend more time trying to figure out how to “save” Atlantic City casinos than they do working to improve the Garden State’s education, health care, senior services, etc. What a waste of time, intellectual capacity and political capital. But once a state gets addicted to casino gambling, it seems to have no choice but to “double down” and risk so much for so little.
And what are some politicians’ solutions to the fact that Atlantic City casinos are going broke because of competition in other states? They say NJ should have more casinos throughout the state. They would fix casino over-saturation by … um … adding more casinos.
Floridians are not naïve enough to believe that we can legalize casinos in one region of the state and not have them ultimately spread throughout the state.
The casino-gambling industry defies common sense and insults our intelligence when it says the solution to having too much gambling is to add exponentially more gambling. What’s true for New Jersey is doubly true for Florida.
This recent article provides some interesting insight:
Memorial Day saw the opening of Margaritaville, a new beachfront entertainment complex themed to the Jimmy Buffett anthem of never-ending vacation.
The city also had a front-and-center role in an episode of the popular ABC-TV show “The Bachelorette.”
And then there’s the steady barrage of radio, television and print ads touting the city’s assets, including its seaside location.
But against that glitzy backdrop is an undercurrent — a sense that time may be running out for Atlantic City and an awareness that the summer of 2013 will be a critical test of the fortunes of New Jersey’s only casino-gambling venue.
Key legislators of both parties are expressing weariness with Governor Christie’s five-year revitalization effort and questioning whether — amid growing competition from neighboring states — a rational basis remains for the city’s monopoly on casino wagering within New Jersey. And when critics have mused about an alternate casino location, the heavy favorite is somewhere on the grounds of the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
Even industry boosters acknowledge that Atlantic City’s 12 casinos need to show progress soon after seven years of plummeting revenues. A key milestone looms this week, with the release Wednesday of the monthly revenue numbers for June.
“There does seem to be more and more frustration about the fact that we’re collectively supporting so many measures for Atlantic City, and it seems like we’ve yet to hear any glowing reports,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo, the Democrat and Wood-Ridge mayor, who backs the Meadowlands casino idea.
“There’s not much else that we can do for them,” Sarlo added. “Now they have to make it work.”
Across the political aisle, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale said that increasing skepticism about Atlantic City’s future is “evident in both parties.”
Read the rest of the article online here.
Contact: John Sowinski