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Christie’s Plan: Reform Gaming, Sports and Entertainment

July 25, 2010

 The Commission’s Report Is A Bold Blueprint For Wide-Sweeping Changes To Gaming And Entertainment In New Jersey

Chris Christie



The Record, “This Is Exactly The Type Of Leadership New Jerseyans Have Craved”:

“It is a comprehensive survey of the state’s declining gaming revenues at racetracks and in Atlantic City, the failure of the Xanadu entertainment complex to open and the lack of reinvestment of gaming revenues into a decaying Atlantic City.  Taken as a whole, the report is both an indictment of how myopic business and political interests failed to adjust to market changes and a vision statement for a radically new New Jersey…We agree the Izod Center would be better run by a private operator…The goal is to clean up the city, change its unsafe image and bring new, non-casino investments into Atlantic City. It is long overdue…New Jersey is ripe for radical change. It can no longer afford to pump money into losing ventures in the Meadowlands. It can no longer stand idle as casino revenue, and related jobs, leave New Jersey for neighboring states. It can no longer ignore that there are fewer people coming to racetracks.  The commission’s report is a bold blueprint, a starting point, for wide-sweeping changes to gaming and entertainment in New Jersey…The right leadership. Make no mistake, though, this is exactly the type of leadership New Jerseyans have craved…The Hanson commission report is a dynamic break from the status quo culture of state government. If even partially implemented, it could transform both South and North Jersey into world-class tourist destinations. It could turn New Jersey upside down. It is long overdue.”

Star-Ledger Editorial Board, “Give Him Some Credit For Seeing That Times Have Changes, And So Must Our Strategy”:

“Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to revive the Meadowlands and Atlantic City is packed with common sense and gives the Legislature a running start at solving problems that have festered too long…Give him some credit for seeing that times have changes, and so must our strategy…those who challenge it have an obligation to come up with something better. So far, we haven’t heard it.”

Press of Atlantic City, “The Recommendations Of Gov. Chris Christie’s Task Force On Gambling Are Bold And Comprehensive”:

“The recommendations of Gov. Chris Christie’s task force on gambling are bold and comprehensive. They represent sensible policy on a statewide level. And for Atlantic City, they affirm a promise that Christie made prior to the election – that the state’s focus should be on Atlantic City reaching its full potential before gambling is even considered in any other part of the state. If the plan is adopted and is successful, it could jump-start investment in the resort and prove wrong the naysayers who prematurely wrote Atlantic City’s obituary.”

Express-Times, “Governor Is Dumping A Losing Hand, Looking For New Ways To Attract Tourist And Gambling Dollars”:

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bold plan to reshape the state’s gambling and entertainment bureaucracy is a start…One bright spot in Christie’s approach is reining in the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which has proven over the years that the only thing worse than having taxpayers foot the bill for entertainment developments is to have a public hand in running the industry…taxpayers should recognize that the governor is dumping a losing hand, looking for new ways to attract tourist and gambling dollars. The key is to use the state’s power to help the private sector compete — not to replace an old tax-absorbing gambling bureaucracy with a new one.” 



Daily Journal, “…We Support Christie’s Plan”:

“In concept, we support Christie’s plan.”



The Gloucester County Times, “Las Vegas Of The East”:

“It’s heartening that the governor wants Atlantic City to make good on its potential as the ‘Las Vegas of the East.’”

Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian, “…A Pretty Good Idea…”:

“And honestly, I think the takeover is a pretty good idea…”


Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford:

Embraced Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed intervention in Atlantic City on Wednesday…  

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

“We need as much help as we can get..”

(Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman, “Gov. Christie pledges to turn Atlantic City casino district into ‘Las Vegas East’”, The Star-Ledger, 7/22/2010)

“What I heard was a theme of collaboration, participation and cooperation.” 

(Juliet Fletcher, “Christie pushes plan for state takeover of gambling and tourism in Atlantic City”, Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

Rutherford Mayor John Hipp:

Said the recommendation to limit table games and slots to Atlantic City came as a relief, citing the hard times faced by the casinos there.  

(Michael Gartland and Nick Clunn, “Bergen support for Christie Meadowlands plan falls along party lines”, The Record, 7/21/2010)

Egg Harbor Township Mayor Sonny McCullough:

“It is necessary for this casino industry to continue to succeed and prosper. I am looking forward to being with the governor at 2 o’clock this afternoon when he makes this announcement. I think it’s a good thing.  I think we’re all going to be anxious to know exactly how he’s going to pull this off…It’s important that we promote this town and do whatever we can to make sure that this continues to succeed and deal with the competition that is now surrounding us.” 

(“Christie Plans Partial A.C. Takeover”, FOX-29 Philly, 7/21/2010)

Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small:

Said the suggestion that projects by the Casino Reinvestment development Authority be restricted just to Atlantic City, instead of spread statewide as is done now, is a good idea.  “Some things that can be perceived as a negative can become positives.” 

(Wayne Parry, “Christie backs NJ oversight of AC casino district”, Associated Press, 7/21/2010)

Atlantic City Councilman Dennis Mason:

A retired police officer, said he hoped that perhaps the addition of additional security in the casino tourism district would allow the current police force to double its efforts in those areas beyond the state’s focus. “That would be a great relief…” 

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam:

“I think today was a great day for Atlantic City and the future…” 

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

Atlantic City Councilman Steven Moore:

“If it allows a redeployment of the police to the neighborhoods, that would be such a tremendous help toward stabilizing things.” 

(Amy S. Rosenberg, “Gov. Christie’s Atlantic City action right on cue”, Inquirer, 7/22/2010)

Atlantic City Councilman Moisse Delgado:

“I’m always hopeful…I’m always hopeful. Despite whatever the situation might be there’s always going to be some way some how that we can find a silver lining in this package.”

(RèMale James, “Atlantic City Residents Don’t Want To Be Left Behind”, NBC-40, 7/21/2010)

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson:

“We were as a group ready to express our support for his plan…”

(Juliet Fletcher, “Gov. Christie gets an earful during Trenton meeting with Atlantic City leaders”, Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)


Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic):

“There’s nothing in the report that talks about a takeover,”

Whelan said.

“It’s a partnership.” 

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May):

Supported the plan. 

“The whole idea behind this was to revitalize an area that has a minimum or income earning opportunities for its residents,”

he said.

“There aren’t the plethora of opportunities in South Jersey that there are in North Jersey.” 

(Josh Margolin and Ted Sherman, “Gov. Christie pledges to turn Atlantic City casino district into ‘Las Vegas East’”, The Star-Ledger, 7/22/2010)

Assem. Paul Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden):

“This report will require a thorough and careful analysis, but I am pleased to hear the emphasis it places on keeping Atlantic City as New Jersey’s entertainment and gaming focal point.

 (Moriarty: Keeping Atlantic City As Gaming Focal Point A Must, Press Release, 7/21/2010)

Assem. John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester):

Said the report was a good first step and expressed agreement with some of the findings, such as updating gaming regulations. He said in an interview that his goal, too, was to have a package of legislation in place by fall that would “take the gaming industry into the next several decades.”  “The status quo is not acceptable,” he said. 

(Maya Rao and Suzette Parmley, “As Christie pitches the A.C. plan, critics speak out”, Inquirer, 7/22/2010)

Assem. John Amodeo (R) and Assem. Vince Polistina (R):

“The commission’s report reasserts and properly designates casino gaming in Atlantic City as the preeminent entertainment venue for the State and chief revenue producer for programs benefitting seniors and the disabled.  The commissioner has put forward bold recommendations…Looking ahead, we know we have some work to do to implement these ideas, but it is good to have a governor who recognizes the importance of Atlantic City gaming to the entire state and who is willing to take bold action.” 

(Amodeo And Polistina Statement On Advisory Commission Report, Press Release, 7/21/2010)


U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo:

“Today’s news is certainly encouraging for the long-term interests of Atlantic City and the state. It is refreshing to see Governor Christie’s vision to make Atlantic City a true family destination and that he recognizes its significant economic impact with nearly 40,000 jobs directly supported by gaming.”

(U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo Reaction to Governor Christie’s Commission Recommendations on Gaming, Atlantic City, Press Release, 7/22/2010)




Former Chief of the Governor’s Office of Economic Growth for Jon Corzine Jerry Zaro:

Heard scores of ideas on how to enliven Atlantic City, reinvigorate the state’s racetracks and salvage the stalled entertainment megaplex at Xanadu.  But he said it took Chris Christie to turn them into a blueprint. “All there’s been for years is handwringing. Now you have hands-on,” Zaro, a Democrat who stayed in the Republican Christie’s administration through April, said Wednesday. “There isn’t anything in there (the report) that wasn’t kicking around for years, but it did take the leadership of this governor, with the assistance of this commission, to turn discussion into action. And I think that’s been the hallmark of his administration so far.” 

(Claire Heininger, “Christie may have again left Dems few options”, The Gloucester County Times, 7/22/2010)

Former Mayor Scott Evans:

“This is a historic day in Atlantic City.”

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

Former State Democratic Chairman Tom Byrne:


“This guy has defined the problems in a way that everyone can understand, and has made it clear that he’s about finding solutions, and not necessarily about compromising very much…”

 (Claire Heininger, “Christie may have again left Dems few options”, The Gloucester County Times, 7/21/2010)


Trump Entertainment Resorts Chief Executive Mark Juliano:

“This is a very positive indication that the state and this administration are committed to making sure Atlantic City survives through this down cycle.” 

(Alexandra Berzon, “Casinos Welcome Christie Plan”, Wall Street Journal, 7/22/2010)

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. Eastern Division President Don Marrandino:

Said he was encouraged by the governor’s plan. The company owns four casinos in Atlantic City. 

“We pledge to diligently work to bring the vision of the plan to fruition,” he said, “restoring my hometown to the great city it deserves to be.” 

(Suzette Parmley, “‘Stop talking and start doing,’ Christie says of A.C.”, Inquirer, 7/21/2010)


Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce President Joe Kelly:

“It’s great to see the governor showing such an interest in Atlantic City.” 

(Vince Lattanzio, “Little Opposition to AC Casino, Tourism Takeover”, NBC-10 Philadelphia, 7/22/2010)

Leading Member of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce Thomas H. Bruinooge:

Said the proposal for tax-exempt financing was “an investment that has to be made…It’s an asset that, if fully realized, would help the destination marketing of the region, the hotels and a lot of different businesses.”

(Charles V. Bagli, “Christie Urges Rescue for Stalled Meadowlands Complex”, New York Times, 7/21/2010)

Chief Executive Officer of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce Jim Kirkos:

Praised the commission for taking a “pure business approach” and listening to its ideas…“The idea that they see value in a facility like the Izod Center — we clearly won that point..Keeping the asset viable by privatizing it, we clearly support that…I understand there has to be a good business model there.” 

 (Michael Gartland and Nick Clunn, “Bergen support for Christie Meadowlands plan falls along party lines,” The Record, 7/21/2010)

The governor has been consistent with his efforts in making government more efficient and emphasizing private sector investment.  We have long advocated that the IZOD Center, as well as some other NJSEA assets, are critical elements of the Meadowlands regional economy that could be more effectively utilized by a private operator. IZOD’s status as a private entity will create a truly level playing field among the region’s arena sports and entertainment facilities and assures that we will not lose the critical jobs that are generated by arena events and the esteem that comes from operating a world-renowned facility in our destination. 

(Response Of Jim Kirkos, Meadowlands Chamber President, To Governor Christie’s Announcement Of Major Changes At The NJSEA, Press Release, 7/22/2010)

General Manager of Perretti Farms Anthony Perretti:


“The whole industry in New Jersey will be gone, including Perretti Farms,” said Anthony Perretti, general manager of Perretti Farms in Cream Ridge, the state’s largest breeding farm. “The governor and his team are willing to support Atlantic City, but not the Meadowlands? Give us support, so we can reinvent as well.”

(Peggy McGlone, “NJ horse industry feels betrayed by Christie’s support of Atlantic City, but not Meadowlands”, The Star-Ledger, 7/21/10)


President of the Casino Association of New Jersey Mark Juliano:

“If the commission’s recommendations are implemented, it will result in positive growth for our industry, which is good for our employees, our customers, our New Jersey-based vendors and the taxpayers of the state.” 

(Darryl R. Isherwood, “From Baltic Ave. to Park Place. Do Not Pass Go”, PolitickerNJ, 7/21/2010)

The Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ) commends the report issued by the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Gaming, Sports and Entertainment, for the thorough and thoughtful review of the issues currently facing the New Jersey casino industry.  The Report provides a blueprint for a private-public partnership to stabilize and revitalize the industry and the region.  CANJ urges a quick implementation of these recommendations.  

(CANJ Commends Governor’s Advisory Commission’s Recommendations, Press Release, 7/21/2010)

“It’s what we hoped for. It sounds like very good news for Atlantic City.” 

(Juliet Fletcher, Michael Clark and Donald Wittkowski, “Christie to unveil state takeover plan for Atlantic City gaming district”, Press of Atlantic City, 7/21/2010)

Former Casino Executive and a Mayor’s Strategic Planning Committee Member Dennis Gomes:

“It would be one thing if the state was taking over the whole city, but this is only partial…We can all continue to work together.” 

(Michael Clark, “Christie’s plan is a partnership, Mayor Lorenzo Langford says,” Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Gaming Association Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr:

“We applaud the governor’s efforts to boost tourism and visitation to all of the area’s attractions, including our casinos…We anticipate a bright future for the region.” 

(Donald Wittkowski, “Gaming industry welcomes Atlantic City plan, but others skeptical that NJ can do it better”, Press of Atlantic City, 7/22/2010)

PBA Local 24 President Dave Davidson:

This would be a golden opportunity for local police and for the city that’s often viewed as unsafe…”Since june 11th unfortunately 20 of our guys were laid off, we had 5 homicides 7 additional shootings, a carjacking with rape, so you cant ignore the facts and say it is safe…..could it be safer….absolutely.” 

(Nichelle Polston, “State’s Blueprint For Stronger Atlantic City Attracts Much Attention”, NBC-40, 7/21/2010)

Co-founder of Union Gaming Group Grant Govertsen:

“[Christie’s] got to do something to stop the bleeding. This will help.”

(Matt Assadm, “N.J. to tout beach and boardwalk”, The Morning Call, 7/21/2010)

Gaming Analyst at Fitch Investors Service Michael Paladino:

“You need the strong action…And to the extent that this has the potential for strong action, it could be what Atlantic City needs.”

(Lisa Fleisher, “Gaming analysts say Atlantic City needs to be refocused, marketed as oceanfront vacation resort”,, 7/22/2010)

President of Local 54 Casino Worker Union Bob McDevitt:

Also according to the report that is considered a blueprint for economic growth, money from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will stay in Atlantic City.  President of Local 54 Casino Worker Union Bob McDevitt said, “That money needs to stay here there is a significant amount infrastructure improvement that has to happen in Atlantic city to make it more tourist friendly and resident friendly.” 

(Nichelle Polston, “State’s Blueprint For Stronger Atlantic City Attracts Much Attention”, NBC-40, 7/21/2010)

Spectrum Gaming, Mike Diamond:

“The city just hasn’t been up to the task of meeting its responsibilities we had a dysfunctional government for significant period of time and if anything a greater state presence involvement is overdue.” 

(Nichelle Polston, “State’s Blueprint For Stronger Atlantic City Attracts Much Attention”, NBC-40, 7/21/2010)

Chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority James Keyho:

“Atlantic City needs a shot in the arm.”

(James Keyho – Chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Interview on CBS-3 Philly, 7/21/2010)

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