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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gov. Christie Compares Possible Atlantic City Bankruptcy To Ordering Hamburgers

Gov. Christie Compares Possible Atlantic City Bankruptcy To Ordering Hamburgers

Governor Says City Has About 10 Days Of Cash Left

The New Jersey legislature appears unable to find a compromise on what to do about the dire financial situation of Atlantic City. Gov. Chris Christie said this week that the city has enough cash on hand to allow it to keep functioning for 10 more days, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Because a rescue package hasn’t been hashed out, Atlantic City might be left to file for bankruptcy, a move that Christie has opposed by is now calling “preferable to continuing to write checks.”
Gaming revenue for Atlantic City’s casinos has been cut in half over the past decade, as nearby states decided to allow casinos to keep the gambling dollars within their respective borders. Four brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casinos closed in 2014, leaving eight still operating. A November referendum on whether to end the city’s casino monopoly in the Garden State could eventually cause additional closings, which would leave even fewer tax dollars for the city.
According to a recent poll, the referendum could go either way.
Christie wants the state to be able to take over Atlantic City’s finances. He backs a bill that would give the city 130 days, a much shorter time frame than a competing rescue package that would give Atlantic City up to two years before the full state takeover goes into effect.
Another major sticking point is what to do about union contracts.
According to the AP, Christie compared the situation to a character in the Popeye cartoon strip who loves hamburgers, but is known for asking others to pay for them. It’s a well-known phrase to illustrate financial irresponsibility. “I won’t happily pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” Christie said. “They want the hamburger today, they pay today.”
Despite the city’s struggles, there is significant investment happening there. The owner of Revel, the most expensive casino in the city’s history, plans to re-open part of the property this summer and recently said “Atlantic City is a perfect place to put money.” Gross operating profits for the city’s eight remaining casinos grew by 40 percent in 2015, New Jersey gaming regulators said last month. The state’s online gaming industry that is based in Atlantic City is still growing and represents more than 90 percent of the U.S. online casino gambling market.

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