Future New York Casinos could destroy Atlantic City

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For decades, Atlantic City enjoyed being the East Coast’s only legal gambling hub. But that distinction is long gone since many nearby states have opened their own casino operations in order to keep gambling revenue in-state. And now, Atlantic City figures to take even more losses with New York’s recently announced plans to build seven Las Vegas-style casinos.

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo approved an amendment to the state constitution that’ll allow the seven casinos to be built. “The passage of Proposal One is a big win for local governments, school districts, and taxpayers across New York State,” Cuomo said. “Since taking office, my administration has focused on reviving the state’s economy, and today’s vote will further pave the way for the creation of new jobs, construction, and increased tourism in communities across the state.”

One major selling point behind the casinos was a desire to revitalize struggling New York areas like the Catskills, the Capital Region and the Southern Tier. It’s worth adding that the constitution amendment bans any new casinos from being built in New York City or its suburbs for at least seven years.

Even with the ban in New York City, this amendment has disastrous consequences for the beleaguered Atlantic City. This once-proud gambling hub hit a peak in gaming revenue in 2006, when its casinos generated $5.2 billion. But with an increasing number of casinos in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland, Atlantic City saw its revenue plummet to $3 billion in 2012.

New York’s growing forays into the gaming market now deal yet another blow to AC. Popular speculation is that the city won’t be able to sustain enough visitors and revenue to remain a popular international casino destination.

Vogel Capital Management CEO Harold Vogel explained this best when he said, “Atlantic City’s time has come and gone. It was second after Nevada, and it was a special place in a small location. It had 10 good years when it was pretty unique, but then we (New York) got Indian casinos, and then gambling in Pennsylvania.”

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