Monday, November 22, 2010

Eminent Domain and Atlantic City Revitalization

In 1976 residents voted for casino gambling in Atlantic City. In doing so the idea was to revitalize a depressed city with substandard housing and double-digit unemployment. Even though current casino profits are down, in 2009 11 casinos brought in over $3.9 billion in revenue.

Double digit unemployment continues, and dilapidated housing is still second-rate for many citizens. The majority of residents and businesses have not seen any change in their communities. Urban decay surrounding the casinos has not improved, and many residents who thought in 1976 they would see neighborhood improvements aren't happy. Taxes are not lower, the streets are not any cleaner, and neighborhood security has not improved much. Many local businesses have closed or been boarded up as casino stores compete against them.

Senate President Sweeney said, “We have to recognize that Atlantic City’s gaming and tourism attractions have a bigger impact than inside the city borders, if we’re serious about turning Atlantic City’s casinos into a resort destination, we have to separate the problems plaguing the casino district from the problems facing the entire city.

So in essence, the revenue of the state comes above the needs of the people, even though very little casino revenue went towards improving the surrounding communities?

In 35 years, many of them pre-recession years, the benefits of that revenue still hasn’t filtered down to the surrounding communities as promised.

In gambling with a bailout of the gaming industry, will those residents be cheated once again with the threat of Eminent Domain under the guise of revitalization that will take away the remainder of little they have left?

~ Joe Sinagra

1 comment:

Timothy Johnsons said...

Your article is so informative. Though we have best hotels and best casino in Atlantic City, still many social problems to face.