OPINION - EDITORIAL

Atlantic City, New Jersey has a short window to get its act together before legalized casino gambling comes to New York State.

The Atlantic City casinos should be held harmless. They are operating efficiently, dynamically, and effectively.

Atlantic City’s current problems stem from an incompetent local administration that is failing to deliver the most basic requirements of local government.

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul is racing to include a provision in the state budget that will fast-track three casino licenses - one in New York City - which will prove very damaging to Atlantic City and the state of New Jersey.

Hochul has until tomorrow, April 1, 2022, to include the casino licenses in the current budget process.

A reminder, that in July, 2004 the Pennsylvania Legislature approved casino gambling when it passed Act 71.

This directly cost Atlantic City more than 60-70% of the convenience gamblers, who otherwise would travel to Atlantic City to gamble, but could now do so in Philadelphia.

The New York Times is reporting that Hochul, along with key members of the New York State Senate and Assembly are trying to fast-track a provision for inclusion in the state budget that will include three casino licenses, with a price tag of $1 billion each.

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They are also trying to provide an additional $1.4 billion for a new Buffalo Bills football stadium.

Politics may get in the way of all of this, as Hochul’s husband is a senior vice president for Delaware North, the company that provides the concessions for The Buffalo Bills since 1992.

Because of this direct financial interest, The Governor is facing certain political opposition to the plan.

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Various companies are reportedly spending more than $300,000 per month on New York casino lobbying efforts.

Additionally, the hotel workers union has already changed its name to the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council.

If approved, the casino license legislation won’t take effect until 2023. Then, add to it, the additional time that it takes to construct the hotel and gaming facilities. This likely means that Atlantic City has about three years before facing more direct neighboring, jurisdictional competition.

Atlantic City will be “landlocked,” with directly adjacent casino competitors at the Philadelphia and New York borders.

It is imperative that Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small administration must improve dramatically.

The Atlantic City casinos and MEET AC are delivering at a competent, very high level.

Small is currently a big impediment. His local government is presently failing miserably and must step-up big over the next three years.

This is a critical tipping point for Atlantic City. Small has one last chance to make a proper course correction, as time is running out.

SOURCE: New Times (New York component only).

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