Governor Chris Christie has formed an emergency team to investigate the options available regarding turning Atlantic City around. The struggling resort city saw four of its twelve casinos close last year, making a huge dent in tax revenue and leaving many people out of work. The team, headed by the corporate finance attorney Kevin Lavin have 60 days to hand over their report and to come up with a plan to, place the finances of Atlantic City in stable condition on a long term basis by any and all lawful means."
It’s a big ask and there is no easy answer and while bankruptcy will not be something that is high on the agenda, it has been mentioned. In signing the executive order that put the wheels in motion Christie stressed that, "It is not the end of the world, we have problems to fix. But I absolutely believe all of them are fixable if in fact we have the political will to get them done."
The team are not to replace the council or Mayor but are there to work with them in finding a solution however not everyone is all smiles about things. Frank Gilliam the City Council president stated that, "I find it very imposing that we will basically have outsiders come into the city and dictate the direction of the city without sitting down with the city fathers and getting their input. We're open to working with them. But at the same time, any time that they usurp our power, we will definitely have problems with that."
New Jersey’s problems have only gotten worse since the introduction of online gaming in the state, and what was supposed to give the gambling scene in NJ a boost, though not backfiring, has in no way helped, with revenue streams from the venture being very small. Last year there was talk of making New Jersey a hub for online gaming and tech ventures on the East Coast where foreign gaming companies could set up shop. Senator Ray Lesniak introduced bill S9890 that would allow companies to do just that.