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Progress for Atlantic City Sports Betting

Latest News Regarding the Push for adding Sports Betting in New Jersey and Atlantic City!

Governor Chris Chritie charges panel with making sports betting and casino profits sure bets again in the Garden State.
Originally written by Andrew Kitchenman on 2/19/2010

The future of Atlantic City, the Meadowlands and New Jersey’s horseracing and gaming industries could be determined by a new commission advising Gov. Chris Christie, and business owners are eager to have their voices heard.

Business leaders and lobbyists said they agreed with Christie that these interconnected industries deserve his attention, and that the state has allowed problems to stagnate.

The panel has been given a broad mandate to explore potential solutions and report back to Christie by June 30. The range of issues it will consider includes the future of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority; how to revive Atlantic City’s economy; whether to reduce the number of horse racetracks and expand gaming to the tracks; and the future of the Xanadu project in the Meadowlands.

The horse industry is keenly tracking Christie’s approach. Michael Campbell, executive director of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey, said it is important for the panel to hear from the farmers and horse owners who are the backbone of the horse-racing industry in the state.

“There’s a lot that goes into those horses,” Campbell said, noting that feed suppliers, veterinarians and others both support and depend on the industry.

Campbell had a mixed reaction to two reports from Christie’s transition team. The subcommittee on gaming, sports and entertainment raised the possibility of limiting the number of thoroughbred racing dates, which Campbell said would destroy the industry. But the report on agriculture discussed adding slot machines at the racetracks, a strategy supported by the industry.

Breeders Association lobbyist Barbara DeMarco said the state saves money by having horse farm owners keep farms undeveloped.

“Keep in mind, a horse farm is a business,” DeMarco said.

One region with a major stake in what the commission recommends is the Meadowlands. Nearly 40 percent of the 800 members of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce depend on “destination” visitors for their business, including restaurants, hotels and stores, according to Jim Kirkos, chamber chief executive officer.

Kirkos said he was pleased Christie decided to address the issues early in his term. He praised Christie’s pick of Jon F. Hanson, a former SEA board president, to lead the commission.

“For too long, we’ve allowed these issues to fester,” Kirkos said.

Like the horse breeders, Kirkos sees expansion of gaming at racetracks as worth exploring. He doesn’t see why slot machines at New Jersey’s tracks could be a threat to Atlantic City hotels, when there already are slots in neighboring states.

“For us this is a big issue, because the Meadowlands Sports Complex drove the economy for 25 years,” Kirkos said, adding that the commission should look to see that all four components of the complex — the new stadium replacing Giants Stadium, the Izod Center, Meadowlands Racetrack and Xanadu — are successful.

But the casinos aren’t likely to see it that way, at least according to one industry tracker. The increasing competition from out of state hasn’t done Atlantic City any favors, said Cory Morowitz, chairman and managing member of Morowitz Gaming Advisors, in Galloway; it’s unlikely that additional competition from within the state would win them over. “It’s a guarantee that slot machines wagering elsewhere in the state has a negative impact on Atlantic City,” Morowitz said. He pointed to Atlantic City’s casinos losing a quarter of their revenue in recent years to Pennsylvania’s slot parlors as an example.

The SEA is prohibited from running slot parlors or lobbying for them under an agreement with Atlantic City’s casinos, according to spokesman John Samerjan. For the past five years, the casinos have contributed $30 million annually to Meadowlands Racetracks’ purses.

The latest agreement ends this year, but Samerjan didn’t want to speculate on whether the SEA may reconsider slot parlors. “We would defer to the governor’s task force on the matter,” he said.

Still, the casinos are eager to work with Christie to find a solution to the state’s gaming woes, according to Joseph A. Corbo Jr., president of the Casino Association of New Jersey.

The Xanadu megamall remains a wildcard in the Meadowlands Sports Complex and in the commission’s deliberation. A state official has spoken with New York developer Stephen M. Ross about his potential involvement in the long-stalled project. Christie said it is important that the tract is developed, calling it one of the state’s most valuable pieces of real estate.

Borgata Water Club Closes!

As the slow, cold, winter months approach businesses everywhere are adjusting their plans. The Borgata Water Club is no exception. The 800-room luxury spa resort & casino will for the second time this year take rooms out of service during the mid-week due to declining business during the season. The Water Club, which cost $400 million and opened just last summer (2008), contains numerous spas, pools, and shops, and rooms cost around $600 on the weekends.

Guests looking to book the classy Water Club may not be out of luck due to the cut back in available rooms. Meanwhile, the Borgata’s main tower of 2,000 rooms will remain open and able to accommodate turned-away Water Club guests. Borgata spokesperson Noel Stevenson stated a week ago, “During the summer months, demand was great…Now that we’re in the shoulder season, with the schedule adjusted based on demand, on most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the Water Club will primarily cater to butler and guest suites, group business and special events.” She also said that the Water Club’s cut back was no different from any business adjusting to the slower season. On this she says, “You don’t want to be sitting there with that many rooms and no one to fill them.”

The Water Club is not in trouble, however. Boyd Gaming Corp., the parent company of Borgata, reported strong third-quarter earnings despite the rest of Atlantic City’s slow decline on the same day that the announcement of the cut-back came out.

Atlantic City International Airport Gets Canadian Airline Service

WestJet Airlines Now Connected With AC International

WestJet Airlines Now Connected With AC International

At 8:44 PM, Atlantic City International Airport is scheduled to receive its first flight from the Canadian WestJet airline. WestJet is Canada’s second largest passenger airline service and this flight marks the start of a seasonal schedule at AC International. This is also the first air corridor between the True North and America’s second largest gaming destination, Atlantic City.

The tourist and entertainment industry is looking forward to the potential boost in customers. Atlantic City casinos have been experiencing drops in revenue for over a year due to the economic downturn as well as more and more regional gaming destinations providing competition.

“Atlantic City International Airport is about to become South Jersey’s international airport. The regional initiative undertaken to increase air service and expand the airport has taken off, and we are committed to meeting the demand for more airlines and more destinations from ACY.”

Bart Mueller – Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority

Project 18 Plans to Improve the Albany Avenue Corridor

For those who frequently travel in and through Atlantic City, you may be aware of the face that the Albany Avenue Corridor is one of the worst congested areas during rush hours. The Inland Thoroughfare bridge is too narrow to allow a proper amount of traffic capacity, and it also is prone to flooding.

The city is now planning to increase the maximum capacity of the Corridor by expanding the crossing of the Inland Thoroughfare, and widening the road from four lanes to six. The whole project will be carried out by building a new crossing of the Thoroughfare between North Hartford and North Chelsea avenues, a new bridge, either fixed-span or a draw bridge, a tunnel, or by several of these methods. There will also be a pair of one-way routes added. Traffic entering from Albany Avenue Bridge will leave via one of these new crossings. Using such one-way routes would greatly increase the flow of traffic and help to reduce the currently congested traffic. There are further plans to increase grade separation of West End at Albany, in order to help traffic keep moving to Ventnor, Chelsea Heights, and Absecon Island, and one lane will be added from West End to Exit 2 of the AC Expressway in each direction. The exit itself will also be expanded upon to make better use of these new improvements.

Overall, if this project goes through, it will provide much better access to all of west Atlantic City and the surrounding areas of Ventnor, Longport, and Margate. The flooding issues will be no more, and local traffic will see a significant increase in efficiency.

Alto Vino at the Top of Tropicana Opens!

The Tropicana Hotel & Casino will be debuting its newest addition, Alto Vino, on Friday!

Alto Vino will be the place to go to experience wines by the glass and pair them with small plate foods.

Senior Vice President of Resort Operations Al Maiorani was quoted as saying:

“The concept is that it’s the only wine bar in Atlantic City with wines by the glass, high-end beers, single-malt scotches and cognacs..  Plus, we will offer small plates with cheeses, a charcuterie and hot and cold antipasta. A wine bar in the room with the best view of Atlantic City will bring the Top of the Trop back to its heyday when everyone went there.”

Alto Vino, in keeping with the tradition of classy joints such as itself will feature nightly entertainment, lounge music, and jazz.

“We want it to be a unique experience…We tasted hundreds of wines to come up with a fine selection of 15 whites, three sparklings and 15 reds..The whole thought was that you can get a two-ounce pour of a nice pinot grigio, plus a small plate of cheese for $5 to match it up. Then move on to a chardonnay with some aroncini (Italian rice balls). Then go to a red and a beautiful pinot noir and match it up with grissini and truffle butter with prosciutto di parma. It will be a really fun place.”

-Al Maiorani

All of the wines at Alto Vino will also be available in two-ounce pours so connoisseurs can create their own flights.

One Atlantic to Open in the Pier at Caesars Atlantic City

One Atlantic, located on the fourth floor of The Pier Shops at Caesars, will become the first over-water independent event venue in Atlantic City. Spanning 100 yards above the Atlantic Ocean, One Atlantic will be the premier location for all kinds of social events including weddings, corporate functions, and charity balls, galas, and more. The design of the space allows for many different setups from 1,000-person banquets to 20-person gatherings.

The beautiful views of Atlantic City from One Atlantic.

The beautiful views of Atlantic City from One Atlantic.

We designed One Atlantic specifically for events, taking full advantage of the stunning over-water location. When you step into the space and look out on the ocean and the Atlantic City skyline, you know you’ve found something truly special.

-Jesse Herman, managing partner of One Atlantic

Herman is referring to the stunning panoramic views of Atlantic City’s skyline, boardwalk, and beach offered by each room of One Atlantic’s 10,000 square foot interior space, even the bathroom! As if that isn’t enough, One Atlantic also features a 2,000 square foot outdoor garden terrace, capable of accomodating up to 200 guests. One Atlantic will feature gourmet catering with menus designed to fit the tastes of a wide variety of guests including international, organic, kosher, and vegetarian dishes.

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