Atlantic City's casino and tourism industries are providing financial incentives that helped lure the Miss America pageant back to the seaside city where it started 93 years ago.

Lt. Kim Guadagno
Lt. Kim Guadagno announces Miss America's return to Atlantic City (WCAU TV)

The pageant returns to Atlantic City after spending six years in Las Vegas. The  pageant will also return to being held in September after it moved to January in its new home.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno announced a three-year deal with pageant officials on Thursday. In an interview with WPG's Harry Hurley, Guadagno said the timing is perfect for the return of the Pageant which left Atantic City in 2006.

"Some people think Atlantic City was closed and devasted" by Superstorm Sandy," she said. The announcement, she says will send the message that Atlantic City is "open for business."

Terms Still Being Worked Out

Mallory Hytes Hagan,
Mallory Hytes Hagan, Miss America 2013 (David Becker/Getty Images)

Organizers would not reveal terms of Miss America's return but Guadagno says county and state officials worked with pageant officials, who maintained their headquarters in Northfield, to work out a tentative 3-year-deal.

"It's a deal...But it's still not in writing. It's a handshake. We haven't crossed all the T's or dotted all the I's...But we're so confident that we'll see Miss America the pageant here in just seven moths that we didn't want to miss an opportunity to announce it to you," Guadango said according to WCAU TV.


Liza Cartmell, head of the Atlantic City Alliance, says her casino-funded group is among those providing financial incentives to bring the pageant home. Guadagno told Hurley she believes the pageant's return will bring $30million in economic benefit to Atlantic City.

"We are so very proud to bring Miss America back to her birthplace in Atlantic City,” said Sam Haskell, III, the Miss America Organization’s chairman of the board.  “We are grateful to Governor Christie and his staff for helping make this possible."

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority (ACCVA) will finalize the agreement finalize the agreement later this month.

In addition, ABC will broadcast Miss America for the next three years. “The return to Atlantic City will allow us to showcase our Miss America events in the place where it all began almost 93 years ago," said Art McMaster, MAO’s president and CEO.

It's not known if the return to ABC will bring the reality show elements Organizers added to the show to attract a younger audience.

Leaving Las Vegas

Courtney Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an email the city is "honored" to have hosted the Pageant. "We understand that moving the televised event to various cities showcases America's diverse destinations which represent our great country. We wish the Miss America organization well in their new home."

 The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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