“We’ve identified dozens of interesting ideas to improve visitation, improve the convention atmosphere, the Boardwalk, and entertainment venues,” said John Palmieri, executive director of the CRDA. “The visitor experience is very important.” Billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs are at stake. For the past five years, Atlantic City’s casino revenue has been plunging due to an ever-growing number of casinos in neighboring states, and the continued sluggish economy.
Lawmakers in the far more populous northern part of New Jersey have long clamored for slot machines and table games at horse tracks in their part of the state, including the struggling Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, just outside New York City. Thus far, Christie has resisted those calls, promising to give Atlantic City five years to get its act together before revisiting the question of whether it deserves to continue the monopoly on gambling that the state’s Constitution gives it.