Internet gambling: AyCee savior or slayer?

Atlantic Club chief financial officer, Michael Frawley, head of the smallest gambling hall at the seaside resort stands in the hotel lobby of his resort. They seem like strange bedfellows, but with Gov. Christie weighing on whether to sign off on legalizing Internet gaming in the Garden State, it all makes sense. Rational Group US Holdings, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, is asking New Jersey casino regulators for permission to buy the tiny Atlantic Club . Atlantic Club chief financial officer, Michael Frawley, head of the smallest gambling hall at the seaside resort - and its workforce of 1,700. ATLANTIC01 01/30/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )


Atlantic City’s long-ailing gaming industry is celebrating this week’s signing of a bill by Gov. Chris Christie that legalizes intrastate online gambling.

For the most part, a celebration is in order as casino biz analysts put the potential windfall from digital gaming in nine figures annually. But upon further review, the question is begged: At what price will AyCee benefit from cyber-wagering?

Unless we are totally misreading this, online gambling is a distinct invitation to customers to NOT visit Atlantic City. For the person whose only interest is courting Lady Luck--and not celebrity-chef-run restaurants, top-dollar pop stars and $200 spa treatments,, it will be easier, more time-efficient and, yes, cheaper to stay home and play his or her favorite slot machine or table game than to schlep to the Jersey Shore—especially, as is often the case—if that gambler lives in North Jersey.

In-person gamblers not only spend money on the casino floor, but they eat in casino restaurants, shop in casino stores and sleep in casino hotel rooms. If they don’t leave their homes, they can’t do that. And then what happens to all the workers who have no work because so much of the customer base is doubling down at blackjack or betting “banker” at baccarat from the comfort of their living rooms?

The bedrock principle behind Christie’s five-year plan for Atlantic City is creating new reasons for people to travel there. Internet gambling, on the other hand, pretty much puts a bad beat on that concept.

Is that really the best strategy for the long-term health of the struggling resort?  

Pigskin royalty at Harrah’s

Star-gazers and football fanciers may want to be hanging out in the public spaces at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Friday as the bayside gambling den again hosts the annual Maxwell Club Football Awards.

Headlining this year’s bash is Manti Te’o of Notre Dame. Te’o will not be honored for the Internet hoax of which he was the unwitting victim that captivated the nation earlier this winter. Instead, he’ll be presented with both the Collegiate Player of the Year award and the Chuck Bednarik Collegiate Defensive Player of the Year award.

Among the other award-winners expected to attend are  Minnesota Vikings’ rusher Adrian Peterson,  Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano, Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bill Arians,  Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien (as well as 31 of his senior players from this past season’s squad) and former star wide receiver and current NBC-TV NFL analyst, Cris Collingsworth. And it’s a lock former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski will be there: he’s the organization’s current president.

The ceremony begins at 7, but if you’re planning on getting there earlier in the day, the 11:30 press conference scheduled for The Concert Venue will be open to the public and free of charge.  

Taj gets Crued

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. March 8 for the May 25 Trump Taj Mahal gig by ‘80s rockers Motley Crue. Admission is $149.50, $89.50, 79.50 and $69.50. For tix, call 800-736-1420, or go to