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Add 4 New Casinos Bill Submitted by Jim Whalen

Potential to Allow Four New “Smaller” Casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

Four new, “smaller” casinos could be built in Atlantic City under a law that was introduced Monday. This could mark the biggest expansion of legalized gambling since it began in Atlantic City, NJ, 32 years ago.

The new law could set off the biggest brawl since Mike Tyson crushed Tyrell Biggs at Boardwalk Hall, most of the existing casinos in town strongly oppose letting new casinos into the market at discount prices, tax breaks etc.

Former AC Mayor James Whelan is now a NJ state senator and will introduce legislation to permit four new casinos of at least 200 rooms. The current casino required minimum is 500, and the newest casinos have 1,000 or more.

“The world has changed, and Atlantic City has changed,” Jim Whelan said. “In 1978, Atlantic City desperately needed hotel rooms and nightclubs and the amenities that go along with a first-class hotel. Five hundred rooms made all the sense in the world.

One likely participant would be the Chelsea Hotel, a 330-room “boutique hotel” opened two years ago on the Boardwalk just as the national economy tanked. The hotel is owned by Curtis Bashaw, former head of New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, who was forced to scrap his plan for his own sprawling casino nearby due to the recession.

“We think the Chelsea would be an excellent candidate for a small, upscale Monte Carlo-type venue that would elevate the market and attract a more upscale patron,” Bashaw said. “This is about jobs, innovating new gaming products and allowing the capital markets to enter the market at the level they’re comfortable with now.”

George Lynn, former CEO of the AtlantiCare hospital system, said bringing new, smaller casinos to Atlantic City will help the entire business community, including those not involved with gambling.

“The more people that come to Atlantic City, the more that small businesses prosper; we’ve seen that again and again,” he said. “These boutique casinos will help Atlantic City differentiate ourselves from our competition, which is something we absolutely have to do.”

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