Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bet On Christie, Atlantic City's Casino District

Kudos to New Jersey Governor Christie for his perspicacity in naming a special panel to review the state's casino and horse racing industries as well as the fate of the Izod Center and the Xanadu shopping and entertainment complex. Mr. Christie has taken the recommendations of the panel to heart and he has set out a 4 step plan.
  1. The casino business is Mr. Christie's biggest challenge and his biggest moneymaker. Despite the fact that Atlantic City had a leg up on its current competition, the Playground by the Sea has lost significant market share over the last five years. Without any doubt, the corrupt and non productive politics of Atlantic City's government has paralyzed development and growth of the casino business. Among Mr. Christie's proposals are the development of a casino district within the city itself, the state taking over marketing of the casino business and a strong push to clean the city up with an emphasis on safety.
  2. Horse racing, as a business enterprise, appears to be finished. Mr. Christie want to divest the state of the Meadowlands track site. Also, he wants to relieve the casino industry of a $30M a year levy to support horse sports. And as a sop to the casinos, Mr Christie does not favor slot play at racetracks. Monmouth Park and the Atlantic City Track might be put to other uses, while Freehold raceway looks like a bust.
  3. The Izod Center has lost its two tenants, the Devils and the Nets. The governor wants to sell the property.
  4. In regards the Xanadu complex, Mr. Christie would prefer the project be finished and be moved forward to success. If funding cannot be secured and the project moved forward, he would like to have the partially completed work taken down. He did admit that the wacky multicolored building is one of the ugliest structures in the state and perhaps in the country.
The Atlantic City project is the most interesting. The Governor does have the support of the casino executives. If the bad politics of the City can be neutralized, it may not be too late to right the listing ship many still call the World's Playground.

Considering the millions of dollars squandered and wasted by the procession of bad mayors and city councils, it's no wonder AC hasn't progressed much beyond what it was before the gambling referendum of 1978 was passed. Governor Christie may be the man for the job. So far, so good. The people of New Jersey are betting on Christie. What are the odds?

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