Atlantic City Tries Again To Attract Smaller Casinos

New Jersey legislators are trying to rework a law that allowed for two “boutique” casinos in Atlantic. Despite the bill’s passage in 2011, no smaller casinos were built. Legislators are trying to make the bills more attractive to developers.

In 2011, New Jersey passed a law that allowed for two “boutique” casinos to be built in the city with less than the usual amount of hotel rooms required.

Despite some interest—Hard Rock International did make a proposal—no casinos were built. Now legislators are trying to soften the law to make it more appealing to developers.

The original law calls for two casino hotels with about 200 hotel rooms. One of those projects would have to later expand to 500 rooms.

A bill that has passed Assembly and Senate committees removes the 500-room requirement. The bill also removes a requirement that the casinos be new construction and allows for the refurbishment of existing buildings.

“High-end casinos with a price tag of $1 billion or $2 billion have gone extinct in Atlantic City, crushing the economy and forcing thousands of workers into unemployment,” said Deputy Assembly Speaker John Burzichelli, a southern New Jersey Democrat. “This legislation will encourage those who want to build smaller casinos to do business in New Jersey and will enable owners of existing facilities to incorporate gaming into their business models.”

The bill has been passed in the state Senate, and now goes to the full Assembly.