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Christie aims to grow AC as a ‘resort town’

As Revel, the newest and largest casino in Atlantic City prepares to close its doors in the next month, along with Trump Plaza and Showboat, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is moving forward with plans to host an AC summit meeting early in September.

Christie speaks during a town hall meeting in Long Branch. (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

During his latest town hall meeting in Long Branch, the governor said there’s a lot of concern about what’s happening in Atlantic City with thousands of people losing their jobs. He also said “all of the non-gaming things that are going on in Atlantic City are going much better than they have been going in Atlantic City’s history.”

He told those assembled at Tuesday’s town hall meeting that Atlantic City was built at a time when there was a monopoly, with only Nevada and New Jersey having gambling. Over the past few decades, however, 38 other states have decided to offer casino gambling as well.

“So the downsizing of Atlantic City is going to be a natural thing that’s going to happen, when you’re built for a monopoly and you no longer are a monopoly,” Christie said.

The governor stressed that at this point, “what we want to try to do is make sure all of that stuff happens in a way that lessons the disruption to the people’s lives in that portion of the state as much as possible, and the economic upset that it causes as well.”

Christie also said the state should look at the recent problems in Atlantic City as a change to examine and change how things operate.

“We can’t look at this as a disaster, it’s not a disaster, what it is a time for us to take an opportunity to change the way Atlantic City operates and to make sure it grows in the right direction as a resort town, which is what it’s always been,” Christie said.

He added that the summit will take place Sept. 8.

“I want you to know we’re working on it and I’m thinking about it,” Christie said.

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