The recent Labor Day holiday paid its annual tribute to workers who help make the country strong and proud. That strength and pride took a hit in New Jersey where almost 5,000 workers were sent to the unemployment line following the closings of the Showboat Casino on Aug. 31 and the Revel Casino two days later on Sept. 2.
Waiting in the on deck circle is Trump Plaza after receiving approval to shut down on Sept. 16 from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement last Friday. That will add roughly another 1,000 workers to the Garden State’s unemployment totals when Trump Plaza turns away gamblers in two weeks.
Sept. 8 summit scheduled to discuss remedies
Gov. Chris Christie is not standing idly by, as a summit has been called for Sept. 8 where officials from all levels of government and the gaming sector will convene to discuss a remedy, the Press of Atlantic City reported. The discussions will center upon how to revive an industry that took in $5.2 billion in 2006 before the bottom fell out and declines each subsequent year led to nearly only half as much in revenue in 2013.
Online poker and gambling regulation was enacted and launched last year in New Jersey in an effort to boost the flagging revenue totals. The gaming sites collectively took in over $10 million in July, an improvement over June’s total of $9.5 million.
2014 a bleak year for Atlantic City
But those totals, while likely to increase with the expected approval and entry of PokerStars into the New Jersey online poker market, are not enough to offset the revenue lost at brick and mortar gaming establishments from the peak of eight years ago. And the closing of four casinos since January that includes the Atlantic Club and the upcoming Trump Plaza shutdown means that 2014 will likely be the darkest year in Atlantic City history since casinos opened in 1978.
Potential buyers for the Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza continue to be welcomed. That topic is likely one of many that will be addressed by Gov. Chris Christie during next Monday’s summit.