Atlantic City Invests in Clean Up Amid New York Casino Threat

Posted on: August 30, 2022, 07:38h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2022, 02:47h.

Atlantic City officials will pump $5 million into creating a citywide security camera system, The Press of Atlantic City reports.

Marty Small
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr announced a cash boost into city coffers would improve security in the coastal resort town. (Image: Philadelphia Inquirer)

At a Monday news conference, Mayor Marty Small Sr said that a short, sharp boost in state funding would allow the city to add 250 cameras to its existing network.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Monday that the city will get a $16.8 million windfall from last year’s state budget.

Also in the cards is $3.6 million for new equipment for public works, such as street sweepers, while another $2 million is earmarked for revamping the Boardwalk’s surface. A further $1 million will be used to extend the Boardwalk from Caspian Avenue to Gardner’s Basin, Small said.

Image Problem

The news comes when municipal officials and casino operators alike are eager to improve the city’s image in the face of impending competition from New York.

Atlantic City’s casino sector has struggled since the days when it had a monopoly on the entire East Coast. New York’s state budget for 2023 features a process to award three downstate casino licenses, two of which are likely to be located in New York City, and the alarm bells are ringing.

Atlantic City has always depended on tourism from New Yorkers. Meanwhile, some analysts believe the northeast gaming market is already oversaturated.

Murphy said Monday the best way to deflect new competition from New York City is to improve the experience Atlantic City provides to visitors.

“The investments in this year’s budget and other recent state support make it clear that we support and value Atlantic City, and will continue to work alongside city leadership to help this community prosper,” he added.

‘Revitalize the City’

In recent years, casino operators have been vocal about perceived underinvestment in the city. They’ve argued that neither the state, the city, nor the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority are doing enough to improve the perception of the coastal resort town.

Joe Lupo, president of the Hard Rock, said recently that the casinos’ efforts to build non-gaming amenities to reinvent Atlantic City as a family-friendly destination are being hampered by neglectful politicians.

Our buildings can’t be surrounded by drug addicts and prostitutes, the lights need to work, the Boardwalk needs to be fixed, the beaches need to be replenished,” Lupo said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the city…We need to revitalize the city, because it just hasn’t been done in the past.”

New Jersey is currently engaged in a legal battle with Atlantic County over changes to its PILOT scheme. These are payments casinos’ make to the state in lieu of taxes.

The state appealed a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruling that it infringed on a 2018 consent agreement with Atlantic County when it changed the rules on PILOT payments.

Judge Michael Blee ruled in July that the county is due more than $22 million in PILOT payment redistribution from the state.