Relief Supposedly On the Way to Atlantic City via Chris Christie

by Jim Hall

Atlantic City casinos are supposedly going to receive a little relief as Governor Chris Christie announces plans to change gambling regulations of the state.

When a gambling industry in a state of the US begins, certain regulations and rules are put in place for the gaming venues to follow. Over the years, hopefully these rules and restrictions work. However, over time, changes do have to be made in order to see the gambling industry thrive and grow. Atlantic City is a decades old gambling town that has provided New Jersey with amazing revenues over the years. However, for some time now, the gambling town has struggled, seeing gaming venues close and revenues drop.

Several fixes have been proposed for Atlantic City, from letting the state take over finances to offering gaming in the northern region of the state. Nothing has been approved or agreed upon. Now, Governor Chris Christie seems to have a plan of action. Just this week, the Governor has announced that he has plans to change some of the gambling regulations of the state, though which will change has yet to be revealed.

A Change is Coming

Chris ChristieChristie met with Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International on Thursday and soon after revealed his plans to make changes, yet did not announce what will change. Christie said that the changes that are to be made will help to bring the regulations of Atlantic City into the 21st Century.

This announcement comes just after James Murren, the CEO and Chairman of MGM Resorts International mentioned plans to collaborate with Caesars in Atlantic City. What this entails, no one knows. Reportedly, the two companies have enough land that together it could be used to create a new casino in the town.

Old Regulation Changes

The last time regulations were changed was back in 2011 when the state decided to make casino licenses valid for an indefinite time period. This was done so owners of the venues would not have to keep paying renewal rates every five years.

With this announcement by Christie, it makes one wonder if the changes were stipulations that MGM and Caesars told Christie had to happen before they would invest in Atlantic City. More gaming is definitely needed in order to bring in much-needed revenues. Four casinos closed down in 2014 and the Trump Taj Mahal shutdown last October.

However, Hard Rock International has acquired the Taj and has plans to reopen the venue has a Hard Rock Casino by next summer. The former owner of the Taj, Carl Icahn, stated that some regulations in Atlantic City are a signal to business owners that Atlantic City is not open for business. Icahn came under fire when he decided to shut down the Taj and legislation was actually attempted to keep him from using the property by lawmakers but Christie shut that legislation down.

Certainly some regulation changes are needed to see investors coming to the area and putting money into Atlantic City. But will operators be willing to invest as the town continues to struggle? Hopefully with the addition of the Hard Rock and other operators looking to offer gaming, hotels and entertainment in AC, other companies will be willing to invest as well.

For now, we can only guess as to what changes will be coming in Atlantic City. It will be interesting to see what plans Chris Christie has in store for the gambling city and if they will be enough to help the city continue to move forward and see new investments created.