Previous to this change, the state law required a minimum of 500 rooms. The largest and most successful casinos in Atlantic City have 2,000 or more rooms.
According to Linda Kassekert, chairwoman of the casino commission, the decision is aimed to lower the development costs and incentive new and smaller gaming companies to enter the market and bring new investments to the city. Kassekert said the new guidelines are “intended to promote the construction of new, first-class casino facilities along the Boardwalk containing first-class restaurants, high-quality entertainment venues, special amenities as well as much-needed hotel rooms.”
The new guidelines also include a series of requirements for developers. New casinos will have to be brand new and not a renovation or conversion of an existing building into a gaming hall. Since most of the existing Atlantic City casinos are reluctant to allow competitors to enter the market more cheaply, new casinos will be taxed at a higher rate than the existing casinos.
If more than two applicants compete to build the new casinos, then state regulators will evaluate a series of aspects including the number of jobs the projects would create, time of conclusion of the contract, available financing, and communal benefits such as infrastructure improvements.
The Gaming Commission set a deadline for companies interested in developing one or both of the new casinos. Interest must be expressed to the Casino Control Commission by July 8, 2011 and the application has to be filed by August 19, 2011. Although, the deadline can be prolonged if not enough applicants come forward by then.