For the past few years, Atlantic City has seen a revival. For a while the area was struggling to earn revenues from gambling activities. Now, new casinos and online gaming have boosted moral as revenues are coming in at record numbers month after month. Despite the good standing right now, competition is increasing and there are only so many gambling dollars to go around. Industry insiders have been calling on a study of existing casino regulations and possibly limiting expansion in the region to maintain a viable marketplace for the future. Everyone now seems to be on board and the review is most likely to take place.
Building a Case
Casino operators, regulators of the gaming industry and the administration of the governor were on hand during a New Jersey Senate committee meeting last week, discussing how the review needs to come to pass. A comprehensive review of the industry rules must take place in order to ensure the industry can continue to flourish.
The casino market has just now stabilized after ten years of losses, with many officials feeling that a review and maybe legislative action is needed to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.
During the State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee meeting, Governor Phil Murphy’s special counsel for the Atlantic City transition, Jim Johnson, was on hand to submit testimony.
Mr. Johnson stated that often times during market failure, regulatory and oversight authorities will conduct a review to determine how the failure could have been avoided. Reforms are then proposed to make changes in a regulated industry. Since the period of crisis is no longer taking place in Atlantic City, the administration is recommending that policy makers consider a similar review.
Currently, no legislation exists to reform the existing regulations involving casino gaming. The testimony during the meeting was done so to bring attention to a need for such a review. However, there are legislators that are against the idea of limiting the market as they feel it could have untended consequences.
Senator Chris Brown stated that instead of limiting the number of casino establishments they should encourage new investment via competition and the state will focus on Casino Control Act enforcement to hold the existing gaming venues accountable in living up to their obligations to the working families by offering decent paying jobs, creating economic redevelopment and supporting senior programs.
Several individuals provided additional testimony during the meeting. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement director David Rebuck and the Casino Control chairman James Plousis were both there to testify that the casino industry needs to be protected and preserved.
Also in favor of the review is the Casino Association of New Jersey. The trade group is the representative of each of the casinos in Atlantic City.
Overall, the goal is to see Atlantic City continue to thrive. Mr. Johnson helped to write the transition report for Atlantic City and has recommended that the number of casinos in the region be capped or to place a limit on the capacity of the total market. Mr. Johnson feels that to protect the strength of the casino industry it is recommended that policymakers in Trenton take steps to ensure that the regulatory approach is adapted to the current market conditions.
It will certainly be interesting to see if the review is completed and what changes legislators or regulators decide to make based on the findings.