And You Thought D-Day Was June 6th?


U.S. troops disembark from a landing vehicle on Utah Beach on the coast of Normandy, France in June of 1944.

July 21, 2010, the beaches of Atlantic City – Well the problem of the heat in Atlantic City has been – nor is likely to be – solved, but the battle has begun and there is a new general in charge.  The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, landed on the beach, marched onto the Atlantic City Boardwalk at 10:30 a. m. and declared marshal law, well not quite, but close.

Gov. Christie, surrounded by his loyal forces, announced the state of New Jersey was taking control of the casino zone and relieving the city of its responsibility and authority in the zone and over the casinos.  Christie said the city officials had fiddled while the competition burned the city down.  Most of the years since casino gambling was legalized in Atlantic City it was by most accounts extremely successful; not until 2007 when the city passed regulation prohibiting smoking in casinos, just a few months after the first casinos opened in Pennsylvania did anyone think there could ever be a threat to the casinos along the Boardwalk. However, Atlantic City casino revenue has dropped from a peak of $5.16 billion in 2006 to $3.91 billion in 2009 and is declining further this year – and faced with even more competition will undoubtedly continue to decline for at least a couple more years.

The governor thinks the city should have been preparing for the competition during the glory days of seemingly unending growth, instead it mismanaged and wasted the revenues it received in his opinion, driven by greed, corruption and incompetence they fiddled away the city’s opportunities.  He is responding to a report that the legislature commissioned to study Atlantic City casinos and their problems. Among them of course is the restrictive regulation that kept all of casinos one size and cookie-cutter copies of each; thus far, that problem has not been addressed by governor and his army.

The opposition, the state’s democrats, are saying there is much more to be done than making the streets cleaner and safer.  They are calling for a summit meeting to find ways to get new investment into the city and make the city a destination that might actually compete with the regional casinos in the states surrounding states.  The battle has just begun, the governor and his troops have secured a beachhead, but the city’s officials and the opposition party have just started to resist.  It was a long time after D-Day before victory was declared and longer still before the Marshall Plan went into effect. This too looks to be a long campaign.

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