Christie to Convene Summit on Atlantic City’s Future

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans a summit of elected and casino industry officials to address the future of Atlantic City, according to an e-mailed statement.

The meeting will take place on Sept. 8, two days before Revel AC Inc.’s planned closing of its hotel and casino in the oceanside gambling resort. Revel announced plans yesterday to shutter the $2.6 billion complex that was meant to usher in a new era of opulence in Atlantic City when it opened in 2012.

With the facility’s closure, junk-rated Atlantic City will lose its second-largest taxpayer. The complex’s $19 million property-tax bill this year accounts for 7.5 percent of the city’s revenue, Moody’s Investors Service said today in a statement. The ratings firm deemed the closing a credit negative for the city, though it didn’t revise its rating or outlook.

About 70 percent of the city’s tax base comes from casinos, whose revenue has slid for seven straight years amid growing competition from neighboring states. Moody’s on July 23 cut its credit rating two steps, to Ba1 from Baa2, on $245 million of general-obligation debt, citing revenue declines, tax appeals and impending casino closings.

Christie, 51, a Republican in his second term, in 2010 gave Atlantic City a five-year deadline to reverse the decline before he would consider expanding gambling to elsewhere in the state. The governor cited growth in areas including restaurant wages, retail and revenue from alcohol and entertainment as potential new sources or revenue, according to the statement.

Invitees to the September summit include Democratic and Republican state legislative leaders, Mayor Don Guardian and unnamed casino industry and organized labor officials.

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