New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has called on all state stakeholders to determine how Atlantic City can “best reinvent itself” after admitting that the city has been relying solely on gambling revenues for too long.
Sweeney said that casino gaming in Atlantic City had been an economic generator for all of New Jersey since 1978, employing more than 40,000 people at its peak.
Gaming revenue reached a high of $5.2bn in 2006 – the year that neighbouring Pennsylvania first introduced casinos - but has since seen revenue fall over seven consecutive years. Last year, Atlantic City’s 12 properties brought in $2.9bn in revenue, its lowest level in 25 years.
“Since its peak, the market for gaming has changed,” wrote Sweeney in an opinion-editorial published in New Jersey newspaper The Record this week. “Convenience gaming has proliferated throughout the United States with casinos in the backyards of one-time day trippers to Atlantic City."