It was announced just yesterday that New Jersey State Assembly officials have advanced a measure that would help put former employees of Atlantic City back to work as well as ease certain regulations in regards to boutique casinos. The new bill, A-4586, is sponsored by Assembly Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo.
If A-4586 were to pass into law, a provision of the 2011 statute would be eliminated. This statute requires one of two licenses that are issued for casino gaming by the state Casino Control Commission pilot program to be a staged casino facility license. With this statute, the license holder can operate a gaming facility with 200 rooms if they agree to expand the facility to include 500 rooms in a five year time frame after earning the license.
Burzichelli stated that high-end casinos with construction budgets of $1 and $2 billion are not extinct in Atlantic City. Workers are being laid off and the economy is suffering. Burzichelli believes that with this legislation, anyone who wants to build a smaller casino in New Jersey would be able to do so and current owners of existing gaming facilities would be able to incorporate boutique gaming into their current business model.
Each sponsor noted that with the elimination of the expansion requirement, the commission would be able to attract individuals who are interested in creating small scale casinos in the state. The facilities would have a much lower construction cost and would be allowed to operate permanently with 200 rooms instead of upgrading to the 500 minimum over the small five year window after licensing.
Current law also requires casinos to be new construction while the new measure would allow for the smaller scale casinos to operate in renovated buildings. With the casino closings of last year, thousands of individuals lost their job and Atlantic City was dealt a massive blow to the economy. The sponsors of this measure feel that this attempt will help bring Atlantic City back to a resort destination by bringing in new gaming revenues and a different experience for visitors.