Asm. Caputo Says Atlantic City is Not Looking Promising

The casino numbers for Atlantic City came out today and Tourism and Gaming Committee Chair Assemblyman Ralph Caputo told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the situation in Atlantic City is not very promising because the industry is still challenged and the numbers show little progress.

Over the past month, there has been little progress and if the online gambling numbers are removed from the report, it can be seen that the industry is down 10 percent, Caputo said. He said that he is not happy with the online gaming numbers either.

With the addition of online gaming, the administration projected a $150 million revenue increase, which means that $1 billion worth of business would have to be done to get a 15 percent cut, Caputo said. He said that branding also affects online gaming because Borgata, Caesars and Tropicana use their brand names on their site, but other advertisements don’t show who you are gambling with and he thinks that has an effect on what sites people choose to use.

“With Atlantic Club closing we lost 1,600 jobs. The building was worth $400 to $500 million; sold for $15 million. The value of the industry is not there. The marketplace sets that kind of value and it affects their tax revenue and they have lost a lot of tax revenue based upon the tax appeals,” Caputo said.

He said that if Hard Rock were to buy Revel, the company would be getting it at a bargain price because it cost $2.6 billion to construct and it is selling for $200 million to $300 million. But he said Hard Rock would be a good candidate to buy Revel because it would bring in a fresh player, which he sees as positive.

As for putting a casino in the Meadowlands, Caputo said, “The scale is tipping towards having casinos in the Meadowlands. Prior to this, I think we have had a lot of resistance but Christie said that this would be a pivotal year and he would look for other options if the numbers were not there and that’s my point. The numbers will dictate the policy. When looking at them there is no choice but to reevaluate where gaming belongs in the state and that is something that should be left to the voters as the constitution prescribes.”