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’14 starts ominously for NJ casinos as gov watches

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie says 2014 is a crucial year for Atlantic City.

This is the fourth year of a five-year period the governor gave the resort and its casinos to reverse their struggling fortunes before he considers whether to expand casino gambling to the Meadowlands and possible other parts of New Jersey.

The year will start with the shuttering of one of the city’s 12 casinos, the Atlantic Club, which is closing Jan. 13 after being sold in bankruptcy court to two competitors.

Casino executives and tourism leaders say Atlantic City is making progress in attracting new non-gambling investments and attractions, and believe the resort is on the right track.

This will also be the first full year of Internet gambling in New Jersey. It is being closely watched to see if it brings new revenue to the casinos or simply cannibalizes the walk-in business at the brick and mortar venues.