Rolling the Dice on Atlantic City's Future
According to Chesler the clock is ticking on the gambling mecca to shows its value as, "[Governor] Christie is giving the resort five years to gain its feet before reconsidering whether to expand casino gambling to the Meadowlands and other parts of New Jersey."
In an interesting twist, while gaming remains at the heart of the city's entertainment offerings, with increasing competition from expanded gambling opportunities throughout the Northeast, Atlantic City will have to attract increasing amounts of non-gamblers if it is going to survive.
To meet that goal, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's master plan is divided into short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Beginning with the instillation of light and sound attractions along the boardwalk in the near-term, and improving streetscapes, encouraging mixed-use redevelopment opportunities, and increasing other entertainment offerings in the longer-term, the plan seeks to build momentum for reinvention as it proceeds.
Opponents have raised questions about the process by which the plan was created, the prospects for implementation, and the city's dismal track record for non-gaming projects.
According to Chesler, "[t]he plan has the backing of the governor's office, the city, and there is now an agency whose clear mission it is to implement the goals in the plan, said Cory Morowitz, a gaming industry analyst. That said, economics will ultimately dictate whether the plan succeeds, he said."