By David Cay Johnston

A Gamble Down The Boardwalk

September 14, 2012 4:19 pm Category: Memo Pad 10 Comments A+ / A-

ATLANTIC CITY–Americans who think more legalized gambling can ease their state and local tax burdens should take a close look at the travails of this struggling New Jersey seaside resort.

Because betting is now legal in neighboring states, gambling here is way down. The casino hotels have slashed their workforces, cut real wages and, citing falling property values, received huge property tax refunds — with more refunds likely.

The city has sold $103 million of bonds to finance casino property tax refunds, bonds that with interest will cost the average homeowner more than $2,100 over the next two decades, Michael Stinson, the city finance director, said.

The city is about to sell another $35 million in bonds, while the Press of Atlantic City reports that $40 million more may have to be borrowed next year. If all that happens the average homeowner eventually may be out more than $3,600 in added taxes.

That may well understate the added costs to local taxpayers in the next few years as the gambling business is likely to shrink even more, as Mayor Lorenzo Langford told me. Each time another casino opens in nearby states, “the Atlantic City market should expect to see some lost business,” Mayor Langford said, and “one or more of the weaker casinos may close.”

Two temples of chance are gone already. The Sands was swept away in 2006 by the winds of change, while another casino once named the Atlantis sank, like its mythic namesake, beneath a sea of red ink in 1999.

“Atlantic City is in trouble, and I don’t see any way out, even if they get sports betting and Internet” gambling, I. Nelson Rose, the Whittier College of Law gambling expert, told me.

Everyone I spoke to during four visits this summer expects a big casino in the New Jersey Meadowlands in a few years, which I believe would add to pressure to bring casinos to Manhattan. Both are historically big markets for Atlantic City.

Gamblers lost $3.3 billion in Atlantic City last year, down 39 percent from the more than $5.4 billion (in 2011 dollars) that players lost in 1996, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Because it has a national convention business, Las Vegas has fared better than Atlantic City. Player losses in Las Vegas grew 8 percent in real terms between 1996 and 2011, the center says.

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A Gamble Down The Boardwalk Reviewed by on . ATLANTIC CITY–Americans who think more legalized gambling can ease their state and local tax burdens should take a close look at the travails of this struggling ATLANTIC CITY–Americans who think more legalized gambling can ease their state and local tax burdens should take a close look at the travails of this struggling Rating:

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Comments

  • SaneJane

    I fail to get the comparison. Is he saying Atlantic city is declining because they have gambling or because surrounding states now have gambling? Maybe it is just me.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Is Trump really human?

      Let’s get his DNA tested. I bet there’s some Mormon/Scientologits/alien in there…

      If Trump needs Obama’s birth certificate….we really should have proof that Trump is not the Devil’s spawn?

      Just saying…

      “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”

      Trumpwars….

      Mr. Trump….you are FIRED from the human race!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Bruce-James/1104692804 David Bruce James

    A comment was made years ago in Vegas, among the local, was that Atlantic City was doomed to fail because it was a home site. Vegas isn’t. Very few people have roots in Vegas going back more than 40 years. What that means is they have learned how to handle the booze and gambling. Because if you can’t where do you go if you and your whole family live only a mile away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Bruce-James/1104692804 David Bruce James

    It cost Atlantic City more in the long run to have casinos than the city made. The tax breaks were only the start. It was said that Atlantic City had conventions too. Well Vegas has more and bigger with more attendees in a month than Atlantic City does in a year, plus a couple of thousand people that make a living solely from that industry.
    It isn’t going to help that surrounding cities will have gambling unless they will be required to use new employess with prior experience to take care of those that are unemployed in your town from the gaming industry. At least they will have had their police background updated.

  • Landsende

    Did one of Trumps casinos also have to be bailed out by the taxpayers?

    • BDD1951

      Yep. He filed bankruptcy. One way he makes his money. We were in there on a monday before he filed and the place was packed. He’s a real sleeze ball. Can’t see why he would have to filed bankruptcy. He’s filed bankruptcy 6 times. Doesn’t have to pay the bills or give up the property.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Oh–by the way…if anyone mentions “Gateway pundit” as a rebuttal, know this;
    Gateway Pundit” is a “news aggregator” , primarily tasked to discredit Obama.
It sifts though anti-Obama articles and posts them as fact.
They dont fact check.
Their George Orwell motto is; ” where hope finally made a comeback.” That state means ment that they really mean the opposite.
    “hope finally made a comeback ” is realized when Obama is re-elected.
    What is even darker is that Rassmussen Polls are utilized to justify that Romney is ahead in the polls.
    Darker side?
    Maybe he and karl rove have employed Rassmussen to create false polls.
    Rassmussens done it before…
    Do a google search..

  • daniel bostdorf

    Is Trump really human?

    Let’s get his DNA tested. I bet there’s some Mormon/Scientologits/alien in there…

    If Trump needs Obama’s birth certificate….we really should have proof that Trump is not the Devil’s spawn?

    Just saying…

    “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”

    Trumpwars….

    Mr. Trump….you are FIRED from the human race!

  • daniel bostdorf

    Congrats on the book ‘The Fine Print.”!

    Gamble down the boardwalk is only a 10th of it..

  • Diogenes67

    Did Trump extend the deadline for Obama to produce his college records? An extension to Inauguration Day might be appropriate.

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