The past year certainly wasn’t the best for the gambling industry in New Jersey. Atlantic City underwent a state takeover. Another casino closed. An expansion of casinos outside of AC was shot down by voters.
Where do things stand as we head into 2017, and what should we watch for?
What will happen to the Trump Taj Mahal?
The ongoing saga of the Trump Taj Mahal will be one of the biggest question marks in 2017. The troubled casino resort closed its doors in October, but that was far from the end of the drama surrounding the property.
There have been whispers that billionaire owner Carl Icahn wanted to close it and reopen it with a new labor deal. A strike and union demands, after all, were the reason Icahn didn’t want to keep the property open in the first place. The state legislature passed a bill to stop that scenario from happening; it’s now on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.
There have also been recent reports that Icahn is attempting to sell the Taj.
Will the Taj reopen under the same name, or something different? Or will it sit vacant for the time being?
Will Revel actually reopen?
The gleaming property built for more than $2 billion could open again in 2017. Unless it doesn’t.
The shenanigans surrounding the shuttered Revel resort and casino far outpace those of the Taj. Revel was supposed to reopen earlier this year, but that never happened.
The property announced it would rebrand and open as TEN Atlantic City in the first quarter of 2017. But the acrimony between owner Glenn Straub and government officials persists, casting doubt on that likelihood.
There are hopes that Revel could help AC bounce back, but whether it even opens it all remains an open question.
Where is NJ online gambling headed?
Meanwhile, online poker, on its own, has remained a relative disappointment, especially after the entrance of PokerStars did not manage to meaningfully expand the market.
Will this be the year that online gambling hits a plateau as far as growth? Or will innovations like the live dealers at the Golden Nugget online casino spur even more gains?
Will NJ sports betting happen?
The answer to this appears to be “no,” but there is still hope.
New Jersey is appealing its case to legalize sports betting to the US Supreme Court; whether that appeal is granted should be known next month. NJ would have to reverse a series of defeats it has taken on the issue over the years.
If that case fails, the legislature appears poised to try to find another way around the federal prohibition on single-game wagering outside of Nevada.