Casino owners pony up $30M to market Atlantic City

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2010 5:10 PM
Casino owners pony up $30M to market Atlantic City

Atlantic City's main casino companies are ponying up $30 million to market the resort now that they no longer have to give the money to horse track owners.

A group calling itself the Atlantic City Alliance said Thursday that it will use the money it had been obligated to give to the racing industry in return for keeping slot machines out of the tracks.

The money will go into a fund to market the nation's second-largest gambling resort and help pay for an as-yet-undefined public-private partnership called for this year by Gov. Chris Christie.

The alliance includes the companies that own the Borgata, the three Trump casinos, the four Harrah's Entertainment casinos and the Tropicana.

Christie hailed the casinos' move.

"Atlantic City's tourism and gaming industries are critical to New Jersey's economic health and competitiveness," he said. "Atlantic City is at a crossroads and the stakes could not be higher. I'm pleased that members of the casino industry recognize the importance of this effort, support the recommendations my administration has put forward for Atlantic City and have stepped up with a meaningful commitment to turning around Atlantic City."

Christie has proposed a state-led effort to assume responsibility for security, planning and cleanliness efforts in the casino zone. In addition, the state took control over Atlantic City's municipal finances this month in return for helping it stretch out debt repayment.

A commission Christie appointed this year recommended state oversight of the casino zone, rejected the idea of putting slots in the racetracks and called for the state to end its financial involvement in racing.

Democrats in the state legislature propose legalizing in-state Internet betting, allowing smaller casinos with as few as 200 hotel rooms and adding new off-track betting parlors in the state.

The agreement in which the casinos gave money to the racetracks in return for keeping slots out would end this year under lawmakers' proposals.