It’s baaaack … the Revel Casino again? (Opinion)
Governor Christie offered all kinds of tax incentives for the Revel Casino to open and become a shining star in the comeback of Atlantic City in 2012. Not long after, the project was dead and the casino closed. Enter a new developer that bought it and tried to make it work, but he had difficulty obtaining the gaming license. They say, the third time is the charm, right? Well here we go again. A Colorado developer has purchased the property and announced an affiliation with Hyatt Hotels.
The good news for Atlantic City is that with fewer casinos, the survivors were starting to earn more profits. But with the return of the Revel, will it bring in more gambling money or just take customers from the current casinos?
The real issue in AC is the fact that the gaming licenses are reserved for wealthy, large corporations and developers. A couple years ago, I offered a three-part plan to revitalize Atlantic City. The two most important ideas involved implementing a county police force similar to the success in Camden AND rewriting gaming license laws in order to separate the hotel room requirement that favors rich developers.
Las Vegas is a success by all accounts. And you have to fly there. And there's no ocean. By comparison, it's an embarrassment that AC with millions within a short drive AND an ocean that the city has continued to fail. The new mayor would be wise to push for a change in the licenses to allow small business owners to partake in gaming revenues by offering video poker and slots. This would attract business to the area, fill up some of the vacant housing and have the intended result of lowering crime, increasing prosperity and creating an atmosphere of a destination for your next vacation. I'm not holding my breath, but the idea that the rich got richer at the expense of the working and middle class families and workers in the shore city is disgraceful and can be changed with a simple edit in the gaming laws.
As far as the Revel is concerned, I hope it succeeds, but when people don't read, understand or even pay a small amount of attention to history, history repeats. I suspect I'll be writing a similar article two years from now.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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