by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 12, 2011

According to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, Atlantic City's 11 casinos saw a 9.6 percent decrease in revenue last year compared with 2009. Casino revenues fell to $3.6 billion. "We have seen continued strength in nongaming areas, but the state of the economy and the increase in competition continued to hurt casino revenue last year," said commission chair Linda Kassekert. In response, the New Jersey Assembly on Monday approved two bills designed to revitalize Atlantic City's fortunes. One calls for the creation a state-run casino tourism district in Atlantic City, to be overseen by the state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which would also assume the functions of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. The second bill would allow Atlantic City resorts to introduce Internet wagering at their casinos. Both bills need to be signed by Gov. Chris Christie. While he is expected to approve them, one state official told M&C that governor will likely request changes and that he is staunchly in favor of entirely dissolving the ACCVA. Earlier this week, Christie penned his name to a measure allowing the development of two 200-room casino hotels in Atlantic City. One of the new licenses is for a "staged casino," which means the developers may open a 200-room property on the condition they will expand it in five years. New Jersey law previously required casino hotels to have 500 rooms.