When the State of New Jersey threw millions of dollars in resources at the efforts to legalize sports betting and online gambling the idea behind the effort was to save Atlantic City. The once rocking seaside casino resort was suffering from a malaise of shuttered casinos and a general sense that the place had just seen better days.
Once sports betting and online gambling became the law of the land, things seemed to be perking up in Atlantic City and casino revenue reports back up that idea. But Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen has a slightly different view of modern Atlantic City. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the casino executive described AC as, “going the wrong direction” and added, “frankly the town’s in worse shape today than it was when we bought the building,” for good measure.
Allen points specifically to neglected infrastructure such as streetlights that are burned out along Pacific Avenue and have been for months. “When you’re in a resort environment where safety and security is so important, if the city can’t get something fixed as simple as the street lighting, then maybe a change is needed,” he said.
Allen is not alone in his desire to see some sort of change in Atlantic City’s leadership. In March of this year, AC voters will be asked to approve some significant changes that include replacing the mayor with an appointed city manager and reduce the number of city council members from nine to five.
It’s worth noting that Allen’s casino is the third most profitable in the city with $350 million (though that number was ten percent shy of the revenue goal). Maybe working streetlights matter after all?