Last week in New Jersey, the Division of Gaming Enforcement has approved the opening of Scores Atlantic City, a high end 'Gentlemen's Club' to open at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Other than telling you that there will be private rooms available at $300 for 30 minutes, with the dancers negotiating their own fees and alcohol will be available, we will skip the rest of the details.
As the Acting Director of the DGE, David Reubeck said "New Jersey had anticipated that the "Las Vegas-style revue" would be incorporated here, with restrictions." This may very well be the case, but didn't Governor Christie want Atlantic City to develop into a family destination? The only way I see this making Atlantic City a family destination is when families vote on the family vacation, you know which way Dad is going to vote. The only problem is Mom will likely declare Dad's vote 'null and void'.
But to be fair, this is not the goal of Atlantic City's Tourism District's Master Plan. For more details about their master plan, you can look here at it. I still don't see how this plan is going to revitalize Atlantic City's fortunes long term. Las Vegas has been built up for years, and the Casino Redevelopment Authority's (CRDA) plans are too meek to challenge Las Vegas. As for the local market, sure these changes may be enough to get people from North and West New Jersey to come to Atlantic City, once to see what changes have been made, but in the long run, if you live near the Pennsylvania or New York border, you will be traveling the half hour instead of the two hours plus it will take to get to Atlantic City; especially when there is a good chance table games are coming to New York.
The effort to redevelop Atlantic City comes too little, too late. Casino gambling has become a commodity, like going to your local Super Center. The time to innovate was when Atlantic City was looking down at those 'slot barns' (their derogatory term for racinos). Well, now casino gambling has become a commodity and when it is a commodity, convenience wins.
As they say in business, "It is location, location, location." That is something Atlantic City will never recoup.
I am pretty sure within two years a referendum for the expansion of gambling in New Jersey will be coming. With the Meadowlands lease giving Gural the right to operate the slots at the Meadowlands, there is a distinct possibility that the casino industry will be leading the opposition for the referendum. The racing industry would be wise to build up a war chest now to counter the casino industry's campaign.
Someone asked me how my wish list for 2011 did. Well, you can check the list from last year and see for yourself how things did. Some things did occur, but a good many things did not have any movement.