Geoff Freeman, president and chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association (AGA) said during an event at Stockton University that Atlantic City is heading in the right directions as companies line up to invest millions of dollars in the city.
Freeman named the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City next summer, the proposed joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp., and the possible reopening of the former Revel, now known as TEN, as signs that the resort’s gaming industry is recovering after three years when five casinos closed and the gaming industry lost about 10,000 jobs.
“The Atlantic City market is an exciting market right now,” Freeman said during an AGA . “There is no doubt the market right-sized itself over the last couple of years. While the closing of the facilities was painful for many, it strengthened the community; it strengthened Atlantic City’s potential for the future.”
In addition to the new projects, the resort could soon reap the benefits of sports betting, which could produce hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for casinos and the state. In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Gov. Chris Christie and the state of New Jersey to allow betting on professional and collegiate sports at the state’s casinos and racetracks.
“No state is better positioned than New Jersey and no location is better positioned than Atlantic City to quickly capitalize on it,” Freeman said. “This area has been talking about it for years, so there is going to be no debate if we should have it. The casinos are already scouting out where the sports books will be located.”
“What is exciting is that people are spending money in the city and not taking it out of the city,” Freeman said. “I think that should give people confidence and a quiet optimism about the future,” Freeman concluded.