Apparently, this is news.
Bloomberg: James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said the casino industry is vital for the economy of southern New Jersey and for the tax revenue it generates.
“It’s possible Atlantic City is past its peak,” said Hughes, who predicted the situation may worsen next year. “It could never go back to its past glory. It’s a much tougher game now.”
Last year, the seaside resort’s gambling houses struggled with smoking restrictions and slot-machine competition from neighbouring states. This year, rising unemployment and near- record home foreclosure rates deterred even more gamblers. Casino construction has been shelved. Bonds of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., which owns three Atlantic City casinos, trade at as little as 12.25 cents on the dollar on concern that the company can’t make debt payments.
…After 28 years of growth, Atlantic City’s gambling proceeds are down for the second time in a row. In the first 11 months of 2008, revenue from casino games fell 6.7 per cent to $4.2 billion, regulators reported Dec. 10. Last year’s 5.7 per cent decline was the first ever, as the number of visitors slipped to 33.3 million from 34.5 million.
The slowdown comes as Governor Jon Corzine has warned that the state faces a revenue shortfall of $1.2 billion for the year ending June 30 and $5 billion in fiscal 2010. Through November, the state collected $338 million in Atlantic City tax revenue, down from $364 million and $384 million, respectively, in the first 11 months of 2007 and 2006. Casino employment fell to 39,137 in November from more than 42,000 as recently as August and a peak of 51,560 in July 1997.
“It’s not like it used to be,” [professional gambler] Panagiotou said. “All of the casinos are struggling. People are not going to find money to gamble when they need to find it just to live.”
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