Christie: N.J. to invest $260M in stalled casino project

ATLANTIC CITY - Gov. Christie announced this morning that the state will invest $260 million in the stalled Revel Casino project, allowing work to resume next week.

Christie made the announcement at a ceremony at the unfinished Revel site to sign legislation turning over control of this struggling gambling mecca's casino district to the state and revising regulations on how business is conducted here.

To the cheers of hundreds of construction workers at the site, the Republican governor said he was pleased to announce work would resume for the first time in two years.

In exchange for $260 million tax-increment financing from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for the $2 billion project, the state will collect 20 percent of the revenues, he said.

The governor's office said the project will create more than 10,000 jobs.

The announcement upstaged the ceremony to sign two bills that the governor has said are aimed at turning around Atlantic City's flagging fortunes while aiding the state's struggling horse racing industry.

"If you're satisfied with what's going on in Atlantic City now, you won't like this," Christie said at the signing. "If you're satisfied with what's going on in Atlantic City now, you need your head examined."

The legislation establish the Atlantic City Tourism District, as well as make changes to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, and broaden its powers.

A Gaming Summit, comprised of three hearings that took place statewide and sponsored by an all-Democratic panel, took place late last year to review the governor's plan and to devise the legislative initiatives to move it forward.

The New Jersey Legislature, since November, has approved several of the measures.

The setting for the bill signing - the partially built Revel project on the Boardwalk - is among the reasons Christie cited for the overhaul, arguing that it would bring investment and spur development in Atlantic City by streamlining casino regulations.

Revel, located at the intersection of Connecticut and Oriental Avenues, has struggled to obtain the final piece of financing to complete the casino's interiors. About $1.4 billion is still needed.

 


Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or sparmley@phillynews.com.