Why are we Gaming NJ’s Agricultural Future?

Two stories that highlight the dangerous games Governor Christie is playing with the state’s future:

1.) Atlantic City’s Revel resort, $1.3B in debt, faces potential bankruptcy or foreclosure

2.) NJ stallions seek greener pastures, find them in Pa.

“New Jersey is no longer competitive, putting more than 170,000 acres of equine farmland in jeopardy,” said Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association President Tom Luchento on the association’s website, sboanj.com.  Luchento also pointed to what he said are more than 10,000 jobs at stake should New Jersey wind up out of the equine business.”

Research from the Rutgers Equine Center shows that the NJ equine industry has a $1.1 billion economic impact across the state and accounts for 13,000 jobs.

So it begs the question:

Q: Why are we gambling with New Jersey’s agricultural future?

But there some very simple answers that can help preserve NJ Agriculture and also rebuild Atlantic City.

a.) If preserving and improving Atlantic City is dependent on casinos and gaming activities, why not headquarter all of New Jersey’s gaming, equine and tourism marketing, regulatory and related law enforcement agencies in Atlantic City with satellite offices in Trenton and on the northern shore in Asbury Park, near Monmouth Park, or at Fort Monmouth?

b.) The partnership between Rutgers, Johnson & Johnson and the City of New Brunswick/Devco is widely seen as the key driver of the revitalization of New Brunswick over the last quarter century. Why not recreate this model in Atlantic City with state gaming, tourism and equine agencies and offices?

If we’re serious about saving and rebuilding Atlantic City why not allow gaming at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands and make Atlantic City the hub of New Jersey’s gaming and tourism agencies and commissions?

A steady stream of office workers everyday would help sustain and create new small businesses in Atlantic City itself.

Locating state and association headquarters and satellite offices in Atlantic City would also keep AC front of mind year-round, not just in the summer or when a casino hits hard times.  

It’s not a quick fix, it’s a long-term process, but it’s a process that accounts for more than just the casino owner’s interests.

Cross-posted at Pocket Farms-Keeping Jersey Fresh

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