When Governor Chris Christie appointed David Rebuck to head the Division of Gaming Enforcement, he assumed he could turn the resort around and in two years tops and then return to the Governor’s staff. That was in April 2011.
He’s still on the job as director. In his time with the DGE, Rebuck oversaw the launch of online gambling and sports betting. He al so saw the closing of four casinos, according to NJ Online Gambling.
“I’m still challenged every day, but it’s probably time for new leadership to come in at some point in time to take over,” Rebuck said following a luncheon speech at Seton Hall.
But while Rebuck has been at the helm of the DGE since April 2011, he has no intention of serving as a lifetime appointee.
“He told me that I should tell him when things had turned around, name a replacement, and come back to [the governor’s] staff,” Rebuck added. “I was bound and determined to get things turned around within a year or two, max. But after six months, I realized that wasn’t going to happen.”
At the time, casinos still felt the sting of competition from Pennsylvania casinos.
“We did everything we could to delay closings, which we knew were going to happen—but we didn’t think we’d have four,” Rebuck said of the 2014 shuttering of Revel, Trump Plaza, Showboat, and The Atlantic Club. Trump Taj Mahal then closed its doors in 2016.
The unexpected impact of the coronavirus pandemic also kept Rebuck tethered to his job.
“I didn’t want to leave during Covid, I would feel like a captain jumping ship.”