New Jersey Decriminalizes Sports Betting In Casinos And Racetracks
New Jersey Governor Chris Christies, in an emergency summit on the future of Atlantic City with members of his administration and several industry bigwigs, has decriminalized sports betting in casinos and racetracks.
It’s been one of the toughest years in Atlantic City’s history with the closing of some of the city’s biggest casinos and the loss of nearly 8000 jobs. For Atlantic City locals, the storm is not over yet and with 3 casinos already closed – the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, the Showboat Casinos and the Revel Casino, and two more set to close, the Trump Plaza on the 16th of September and the newly bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal which has recently announced plans to close in November 2014 – the city faces tough times ahead.
The city’s recent downfall, with the total loss of jobs at the end of the year set to reach nearly 10 000, has even begun to hit local businesses. Main Street retailers, the ones that rely on the gambling industry, seem to be weathering the storm fairly well however local shops, the ones used predominantly by AC locals, will be in for tough times as over 8000 of their patrons, nearly one fifth of the local New Jersey workforce, are now jobless.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called for an emergency summit that includes members of his administration as well as several casino industry representatives, which included the likes of Atlantic City Golden Nugget owner Tillman Fertita, to discuss the plans for the future of Atlantic City.
Many agree that the 30 year old plan set in motion upon the legalization of gambling in 1976, is no longer economically viable as the plan focuses solely on gambling. What might have worked then, no longer works today as the casinos face stiff competition from other states that have now legalized casinos of their own.
Millions of people used to travel to Atlantic City from all over the country, now though, with newly opened casinos in the likes of Baltimore, gamblers no longer have only one choice, they have casinos closer to them and no longer have to make long trips to Atlantic City for their annual gambling pilgrimages.
New Casinos Damaging Atlantic City's Ability to Attract Players
These new casinos are severely hurting Atlantic City’s ability to attract players and the closing of the 5 casinos shows this more than stumbling gambling revenues ever could. The summit organized by Governor Christie, outlined a new strategy that details turning Atlantic City into a complete tourist town as opposed to one that’s just about gambling.
Although, a surprise announcement was made after the summit as the Governor has revealed plans to decriminalize sport betting and allow it to be offered by casinos and racetracks within the state. It’s a peculiar move to say the least and as much as casinos and gamblers are thrilled about the decision, it would appear as if many of the National Sport Leagues are not.
Although the legalization of sports betting is far from finalized, Governor Christie has instructed the Attorney General to file a directive with the US District Court that seeks clarification on the laws that prohibit sports betting. The move is set to relieve pressure on the many casinos, but racetracks as well as even the Greyhound Racetracks in New Jersey have felt the side effects of the recent US casino explosion
The US branch of William Hill, the London controlled sports betting company, has agreed to be the exclusive provider of sports betting in Monmouth Park, a thoroughbred race track in New Jersey. They have instructed their legal department to review the directive issued by the Attorney General, but are taking a firm wait-and-see approach on the outcome of the filed papers.
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