Saying he still believes in Atlantic City, Gov. Chris Christie said it’s time for the state and the casino operators to invest more in the Jersey Shore resort town.
Gambling revenues in Atlantic City are down for the seventh straight year, but luxury tax revenues from other attractions are increasing.
The town can once more be a thriving entertainment and gambling center, the governor said Monday, if business and the government reinvest in the city to make it more attractive and hospitable to visitors.
The governor also acknowledged some rough times.
“We’re two-and-a-half years into a five-year plan, and I’m not happy with the results at the moment. That may mean that we need to take some more action when the Legislature comes back into session after the election, but we’re going to continue to plug away on it,” he said. “I am not giving up on Atlantic City.”
Christie said the state is continuing its push to legalize sports betting to help differentiate Atlantic City from casino competitors in nearby states.
And he said the old resort town’s lackluster earnings of late in the face of expanding competition in Pennsylvania and Delaware are not all that surprising.
“When Atlantic City was a monopoly, we drained money out of there and spent it all over the state, didn’t reinvest it back in Atlantic City,” he said. “And now Atlantic City has the problems that it has, in part, because we haven’t invested in it, both the casino operators and the government.”