Casino Expansion Beyond Atlantic City Is Not a Smart Move, Say Experts
The experts believe that expanding casino gambling outside the popular resorts won’t lead to a boost that Atlantic City’s casino industry experienced with online gaming and digital sports betting. At least not at this moment.
Potential Problems for AC
Online gambling has been a part of the New Jersey offering since 2013, and so far it has brought more than $1 billion in revenue. Sports betting was launched in June last year, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal PASPA and end the federal ban on this activity. In less than a year since its launch, wagering on sports recorded over $54 million, while the biggest portion of the sum was generated via digital.
Rumours that lawmakers could decide to expand the state’s casino industry beyond Atlantic City and its resorts have been circulating for some time now, but gambling expert and the published or Global Gaming Business Magazine, Roger Gros, believes this is not the right moment to make such a move.
Atlantic City’s has been holding its monopoly over the land-based casinos for nearly half a century, but the competition has been growing over the last decade, with new facilities being opened all across the East Coast.
However, the expansion could deal a blow to Atlantic City.
The recession and the increase in competition lead to a crash of Atlantic City’s casino industry, and the culmination of this was the closure of five casinos, which went out of business between 2014 and 2016.
Two of these casinos reopened last summer – the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Casino Resort – which signalled the revitalisation of the market.
What about New York?
At this moment, there are nine casinos operating in Atlantic City and most of them are doing just fine. However, an increase in the land-based competition could once again send the city’s market on a downward spiral.
According to Gros, online gambling and mobile sports betting was the main driving force behind the revitalization of the casino industry in Atlantic City. The sector has also added a number of non-gambling activities which further boosted the figures.
Lawmakers have tried to put an end to Atlantic City’s casino monopoly back in 2016, but the vast majority of voters said no to such a proposal, whose goal was to develop two casino resorts in North Jersey.
The proposal received the support of companies such as Hard Rock International, and businessmen Jeff Gural and Reebok founder Paul Fireman.
Since 80% of the voters said no to casino expansion, Gros said the latest initiative to end the monopoly was disrespectful. He believes that even if the proposal goes through, it won’t bring any long-term success, as the expansion of the casino industry in New York City would put an end to it.
It remains to be seen whether the state’s lawmakers will continue to push for expansion of New Jersey’s casino industry.