Atlantic City Casinos Bracing for New Threats From New York and New Jersey

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People walk on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, past the Hard Rock Hotel. (Photo by Daniel Slim / AFP).

New competitors are threatening Atlantic City casinos on multiple fronts. The threats aren’t only coming from New York but also within its home state of New Jersey.

Let’s take a closer look at these threats and how they may impact top-rated sportsbooks in the region.

High Stakes

Amidst a backdrop of post-pandemic economic strain, prospective casinos in New York and the Meadowlands pose a formidable challenge to the city’s gaming industry.

At the East Coast Gaming Congress held at the Hard Rock casino, executives from America’s major casino companies recognized the risk three downstate New York casino licenses pose to Atlantic City.

Meanwhile, a racetrack operator in northern New Jersey told The Associated Press that he anticipates that New Jersey voters will approve the construction of a casino in the Meadowlands.

Atlantic City Mayor Recognizes the Threat

Atlantic City’s mayor acknowledges the threat and emphasizes the need for strategic collaboration.

“Now more than ever we know there’s a threat coming with New York City gaming,” Mayor Marty Small told The Associated Press. “We understand the threat. We want to continue to work together to do things right to put Atlantic City into a prime position, no matter where these casinos are, that we diversify our options.”

Jim Allen, the chairman of Hard Rock International, straddles both markets. His company runs the second-most successful casino in Atlantic City. Additionally, Hard Rock and Steve Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, are partnering on a proposed $8 billion casino complex at Citi Field in Queens.

Allen predicts Atlantic City’s in-person gambling revenues could drop by 20% to 30% if casinos open in or near New York City.

Concerns Don’t End With New York

Jeff Gural, who runs the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford (New Jersey) says he already has a deal with Hard Rock to build a casino there. He says he’ll start construction shortly after the opening of New York casinos. Why? He thinks New Jersey gamblers will grow tired of paying bridge tolls and enduring traffic to reach New York’s casinos.

“I’m just waiting for New York to open,” Gural said in an interview. “People will say, ‘Why am I driving over the George Washington Bridge and paying an $18 toll and sitting in traffic to go gamble?’”

Gural figures a Meadowlands casino will be built within the next 10 years.

Atlantic City Is Preparing for the Competition

Mark Giannantonio, president of Atlantic City’s Resorts and the Casino Association of New Jersey, also sees the threat that New York casinos pose to Atlantic City. He believes Atlantic City has a “two-year window” to ready itself for competition from New York.

This preparation involves cleaning up the city, improving its infrastructure and increasing police presence on the Boardwalk and other areas to ensure visible law enforcement. He emphasized the need for Atlantic City to address its homelessness issue.

“New Jersey has to be prepared for this, to make Atlantic City more attractive for people to visit, and there’s a lot of work to do,” Giannantonio told ABC News. “I’m always going to rely on hotel, entertainment, retail, and the experience on the casino floor,” he said. “I believe in my heart that Atlantic City, with some hard work, will be an opportunity. We’re excited about the future.”