New Jersey Relaxes Casino Rules to Encourage Atlantic City Investment

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told media during a Thursday press conference that new casino regulations will be introduced in the weeks to come to encourage development in Atlantic City.

Gov. Christie’s announcement came after the state’s top official met with the CEOs of gambling operators Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts International. Both companies had already invested billions of dollars in Atlantic City’s casino industry and informed New Jersey’s Governor that they plan to invest even further, despite the once-popular casino resort’s recent financial instability.

However, both MGM Resorts and Caesars asked for certain reforms in New Jersey’s existing casino regulations and Gov. Christie pledged that his administration will deliver certain reliefs in the way casino venues are to be regulated. The official did not provide details on how the new rules will differ from the existing ones, but said that it will take between 30 and 45 days for these to be presented to the media and the public.

Gov. Christie further pointed out that they will be working together with the above-mentioned casino operators to “bring Atlantic City’s regulations into the 21st century”.

It was in 2011 when the state last reformed its casino regulations once again to encourage investment and growth of its casino industry. Back then, certain rules were loosened, including the ones that applied to licensure. The changes to the casino laws made casino licenses indefinite, which meant that casino operators no longer had to apply for a new license every five years.

Once a profitable casino hub, Atlantic City lost some of its luster and allure to casino customers after multiple casinos opened doors in New Jersey’s neighboring states. The massive casino expansion in the region hit the city’s industry significantly. As a result, five of its twelve casinos closed doors between 2014 and 2016.

Clear signs of recovery have appeared over the past year and as it seems, Atlantic City is still a destination that catches the attention of investors. Aside from Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, which have been operating in the city for long time now, its gambling landscape is set to be joined by another major industry name.

Hard Rock International, controlled by Florida’s Seminole Tribe, purchased the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino earlier this year and announced plans to redevelop the property into its next rock and roll-themed hotel and casino resort. The operator announced a $500-million investment to complete the project. The rebranded Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is slated for summer 2018 launch.

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