When the new Revel resort and casino opens in the spring, it’s expected to give Atlantic City, and the entire south Jersey region an economic shot in the arm – but there is concern in some circles the 2-point-4 billion dollar project will simply draw gamblers away from other casinos, instead of attracting new visitors to town. Dr. Israel Posner, the Executive Director of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism and Stockton College, says “any industry, whether it’s service companies, manufacturing companies, the new, the latest the greatest always pushes out the old- there’s nothing dramatically new about that story -the fact that you’ve got a new project, putting pressure on older, more tired kinds of projects- that’s a no-brainer…it’ll happen in the automobile industry, it’ll happen in technology, it’ll happen in hotels, travel- it doesn’t matter what business you’re in- that’s a reality.”

He says until now Atlantic City casinos “were basically gambling centric – this is the first project that is designed from the ground up to take advantage of the fact that there is an ocean, there is a boardwalk – that Atlantic City is a resort…the Revel project -unlike focusing everybody on a machine or a table – is designed to be a total experience for tourists and conventioneers and group business -it’ll be unique in Atlantic City.”

Dr. Posner adds the project already is, and will continue to be a huge economic driver, because thousands of construction workers and engineers have already been working on it for years, “and then to that, you add 6 thousand people who are going to be employed there – not mention several thousand more that are providing direct services…and assuming Revel is successful in attracting a new kind of upscale clientele, then you’re going to see other supporting industries that will try to get a piece of that market…you’re going to have other kinds of businesses- restaurants, retail – that will try to attract that business that’s already being attracted to the town.”

When the Revel project was in financial trouble last year, Governor Christie gave backers a 261 million dollar tax credit, and promised to step up efforts to promote Atlantic City, insisting AC could become rejuvenated and support the entire south Jersey economy.