NJ lawmakers say you should be able to drink on the AC Boardwalk
Stroll down the main strips of Las Vegas or New Orleans with an open beer or cocktail in hand, and you're just part of the fun. Do the same on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and you're breaking the law.
That law could soon be a thing of the past, with the help of state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are looking for additional ways to attract visitors to the resort city.
Under a measure introduced in the state Senate in March, and referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee, individuals can consume alcoholic beverages outdoors in certain areas of the Atlantic City Tourism District, including portions of the beach and boardwalk.
If the bill were to become law, casino patrons would no longer need to finish their beverage in one casino or business, before exiting to visit another, for example.
"We constantly have to look for new ways to enhance visitors’ experience, while ensuring the public’s safety, which is why, following the advice of our local police department, tourism experts and local business owners who all agree, allowing responsible visitors to enjoy a drink as they take in the sights and sounds along the Boardwalk will foster a more vibrant atmosphere, providing another reason for tourists to spend more time and money at our local businesses," said state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, a co-sponsor of the bipartisan measure.
Sgt. Kevin Fair, of the Atlantic City Police Department, said the department is in full support of the measure.
"Anything that could add to the tourism here in Atlantic City, we're all for it," Fair said.
The bill allows of-age patrons to remove a single alcoholic beverage for consumption. It would not permit city visitors to hit the beach or boards with, say, a six-pack or bottle of liquor.
A companion bill could be introduced in the Assembly as soon as next month. Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic, will be one of the sponsors when it's eventually introduced.
"We have to keep our eyes on millennials and that generation, to attract them to our city. I think this will help do that," Armato said. "I think this is probably overdue in Atlantic City."
In order for the law to take off, the bill states the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority would have to adopt a resolution reflecting the open-container law, after a public hearing on the matter. CRDA could not comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.