Governor Christie has given Jeff Gural two more weeks to sign a lease to take over the Meadowlands. Apparently, there are three unions which have refused to make the concessions necessary for Gural to agree to take over the Meadowlands. The Governor, recognizing the problems are with the unions and not Gural, has given him two more weeks to negotiate with the unions for the necessary concessions.
Why the unions are playing hardball makes no sense to me. Certainly no one wants to make concessions, but failure to make concessions puts every single union employee involved at risk of losing their job. In this economy, it makes no sense for unions to play hardball unless their members prefer to collect unemployment. One would hope seeing Gural hold firm as the deadline approached, the unions are realizing concessions are necessary to keep their rank and file working. The new deadline is April 14 is a firm drop date (which was confirmed by Jeff Gural at the New Jersey Gaming conference Thursday). If the unions and Gural don't come to agreement in these two weeks, it will likely seal the fate of the Meadowlands.
In other news, on Thursday there was a conference on the future of gaming in New Jersey and Suzette Parmley, the gaming writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, basically told those in attendance the dream of making Atlantic City a destination resort is a likely folly. She reported that by the end of this coming year, the casinos in Pennsylvania will be making more money than Atlantic City. Parmley mentioned that Governor Christie and others want to sell Atlantic City for its beaches and develop a convention trade. Parmley stated you can push the beaches for three months of the year, but what does Atlantic City offer the other nine months of the year; especially when the summer months pass, many of the casinos close off chunks of their hotel rooms and many restaurants and stores close the rest of the year. So she doesn't see Atlantic City becoming a destination resort for tourists.
With regards to convention business, Parmley indicated you basically need a minimum of 25,000 rooms to host a convention business and Atlantic City has on 17,500 room at present. Other than the Revel project which is getting assistance from the state, other projects have been cancelled as it is hard to get capital investment; Wall Street is not very confident in the viability of Atlantic City, so barring a miracle, Atlantic City is going to be like every other state that has casino gaming, with the exception of Las Vegas.
There is video of the conference, which you can find elsewhere, but being it is heavily interspersed with commercials, I chose not to include it. It was annoying while watching it livel it will be just as annoying now.
Levy Leg 2: Due to circumstances outside of my control, I will be unable to provide my handicapped selections for this week's leg of the Levy as I planned to. Hopefully, those selections will return for leg 3.