Jim Allen warns of Atlantic City closures after NYC casino launch

Hard Rock Atlantic City
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Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen has warned that the opening of three casinos in downstate New York could spell the end of the glory days for the land-based sector in Atlantic City, NJ, and could lead to casino closures in the city. 

As reported by the Associated Press, Allen spoke to delegates at the East Coast Gaming Congress where he warned that removing the requirement for casino players to travel to Atlantic City from NYC to go to a casino could see a downturn in economic fortunes for the resort, which hosts a Hard Rock property. 

He said: “Atlantic City receives 20, 30-plus percent of its revenue from upstate New Jersey and downstate New York, and there’s no doubt it is going to have an impact on this particular market.

“So you have three or four that are very strong and then I think there’s a question as to what happens in that next level down. I think it’s a concern that if these other casinos don’t perform, then inevitably from a business standpoint, is there vulnerability? I don’t think that changes unless there’s enhancement to the perception of Atlantic City.”

Talk of casinos in New York has heated up in recent months after the New York Gaming Facility Location Board put out a request for proposal in January. 

An array of groups composed of investor VC funds, operators, and tribal groups have announced their intentions to apply for one of three available licenses in the city. 

In March, the board confirmed it had received “several hundred questions from interested parties” during the first round of the process, following which it will answer all questions before proceeding. 

With progress going seemingly slow, it may not be until 2024 that the recipients of the casino licenses will be known, and some years in the future before a casino actually opens up in downstate New York. 

Hard Rock is one of those parties interested in a license in NYC, but there is no indication that this would impact its Atlantic City property. The group has long sought a casino closer to NYC after attempting on multiple occasions to open a location at The Meadowlands but being rejected flatly by the local electorate in a vote.