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AC Mayor Addresses Gaming

The mayor of Atlantic City believes state leaders will fully support his city’s transition from a casino graveyard to a complete resort destination, despite recent indications that both the governor and senate president could ask voters next year about gaming outside the seaside town.

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Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City
Showboat Casino Hotel in Atlantic City could close without a buyer by the end of summer. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Mayor Don Guardian expressed confidence on Thursday that the state’s five-year revitalization plan for Atlantic City is still in place.

That plan includes a moratorium on new gaming until early 2016, but state Senate President Steve Sweeney recently suggested a referendum on the issue in November of next year, and Gov. Chris Christie said he’d be open to talks on the matter.

“Atlantic City has lived up to its bargain over the last 35 years — the amount of sales tax, the amount of corporate tax, the amount of actual gaming tax,” Guardian said. “I think both our state senate president and our governor are well aware of that.”

The city could go from 12 casinos at the start of 2014 to nine by the end of summer. The Atlantic Club closed in January, and both Revel and Showboat will shut their doors without a buyer.

For years, Atlantic City has been a victim of increasing competition in neighboring states. Guardian noted the market for gaming is changing, and the city must adapt.

“We put all our eggs in one basket. We know that was foolish. We’re no longer the monopoly,” Guardian added.

A proposal in Jersey City would bring a 95-story casino hotel to the waterfront.

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