Will More Atlantic City Casinos Close?

Resorts - Trump Taj

Resorts and the Trump Taj Mahal were the only two Atlantic City casinos that posted operating losses for the first quarter of 2015. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Atlantic City’s casinos recently reported a bit of good news: Gross casino operating profits more than doubled in the first quarter. The eight remaining casinos made $81.3 million — compared with $38.8 million in 2014.

Obviously, these numbers are skewed: In the first quarter of 2014, casinos had deep losses from Revel dragging down these numbers. But now that Revel and other struggling casinos (and the still-profitable Showboat) have closed, the situation has leveled out. Winter is not the easiest time for a resort town to turn a profit, and all but Resorts and the Trump Taj made money.

But obviously the news can’t be all good for AC’s casino industry. Speaking at the East Coast Gambling Conference on Wednesday, a Wall Street analyst said more casino closures were likely. Read more »

The Director Of New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control Just Resigned

MikeHalfacreThe director of New Jersey’s Alcoholic Beverage Control submitted his resignation this morning, effective June 30.

Mike Halfacre, who has held the position for three years, didn’t give a reason for his departure but some speculate that he wants to find a job outside Gov. Chris Christie’s administration before the governor either runs for president or his term expires  in 2018.

So why is this a big deal? Because Halfacre was instrumental in implementing laws that dramatically reformed the state’s brewing and distilling regulations. The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, as well as prominent beer fest producers, considers him an ally in helping them navigate unfamiliar and tricky rules. And last spring, he worked with them to figure out common-sense regulations for festivals so that reputable organizers could continue to introduce craft breweries to consumers while ensuring that they didn’t promote irresponsible drinking.

So yes, the brewing and distilling enthusiasts in Jersey are, understandably, a little bit worried right now. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

Supporters Rally for Teacher Who Assigned Mumia “Get Well” Letters to Class

Mumia Abu-Jamal (center) with MOVE's Pam Africa (left) and Mumia supporter Johanna Fernandez (right), via Facebook

Mumia Abu-Jamal (center) with MOVE’s Pam Africa (left) and Mumia supporter Johanna Fernandez (right), via Facebook

Supporters rallied this week for Marilyn Zuniga, the New Jersey teacher who was suspended after assigning her class to write get-well cards to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

NJ.com reports on the “teach-in” held for Zuniga: Read more »

The Rules: Garden State Craft Brewers Craft A Best Practices Document

craft beer express

If you spend any time at New Jersey’s brewery tasting rooms, you’ve surely noticed some differences from those in PA. No dining. No entertainment. No food trucks. Well, maybe some food trucks.

In some ways, New Jersey brewers have been left to interpret the state’s two-year-old law that allows them to sell pints of beer and has led to the proliferation of tasting rooms and new breweries across the state. But because the law was met with opposition from the restaurant association, it prohibits food service and entertainment at breweries that aren’t brewpubs. However, the law left some grey area and some room to make one’s own decisions about how strictly to follow the law.

Read more »

NIMBY Cries Stall Proposed Rehabilitation Center in Haddonfield

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

“Where others see problems, O’Neill sees potential,” reads the O’Neill Properties Group mission statement. That attitude must be coming in handy for developer Brian O’Neill right about now. Per the Inquirer, Haddonfielders are putting up staunch “Not In My Back Yard” opposition to his plans of putting a rehab center at the site of the former Bancroft School.

Why the aversion to the parochial school savior’s project? For one thing, the building would be across from Haddonfield Memorial High School and just two blocks the local elementary school. This proximity has not sat well with parents and other locals:  “I cannot imagine a worse site than right next to a high school,” former Mayor Jack Tarditi was quoted as saying last week.

Read more »

WATCH: Cory Booker Argue for Same-Sex Marriage on Senate Floor

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Just two weeks from the day the Supreme Court will hear arguments about making marriage equality legal nationwide, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has taken to the floor of the U.S. Senate to argue the importance of same-sex marriage to his colleagues.

“We cannot fail now. Love is on the line. Citizenship is on the line,” Booker said on the Senate floor. “We cannot deny the worth of one American without denying the worth dignity and strength of our nation as a whole.”

Read more »

The New and Improved Stockton Inn

The exterior of the newly renovated inn at dusk

The exterior of the newly renovated inn at dusk

Teresa Giudice isn’t the only New Jersey resident to have gotten a massive facelift. The 305 year old Stockton Inn is being reborn after a serious renovation and a revamping of the menu.

The menu, which consists of “colonial inspired American fare,” comes courtesy of the Inn’s new head chef Alan Heckman. You can check out the whole menu here, but some highlights include braised octopus carpaccio and a chateaubriand for two that requires a minimum two day advance reservation. For you history buffs, the renovations also included a restoration of the Dog & Deer Tavern–one of the first taverns in New Jersey, which got its operating license in 1796.

Read more »

Chris Christie’s Lottery Privatization Is Costing N.J. Millions

Chris Christie | David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Christie | David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

When New Jersey privatized its lottery in 2013, some were celebrating. For Gov. Chris Christie, the upfront $120 million payment from the lottery’s new operators allowed him to close a budget gap; he said the move would save the state millions.

Unions sued to block the deal (and failed), state lawmakers attempted to strip Christie’s right to privatize the lottery (he vetoed the bill) and people pointed out Christie backers had been hired by the winning lottery vendor. Paul Davies, a University of Delaware professor, wrote on this website in 2012 that potential private lottery operators in New Jersey — and Pennsylvania, where Tom Corbett was attempting a failed bid to privatize the lottery — would target poor communities.

The early results were not good: Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group — a joint venture of GTECH Corporation, Scientific Games and, yes, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System — missed its revenue target by $24 million its first year. And this year, the Associated Press reported earlier last week, Northstar is trailing revenue projections by $64 million though seven months of the fiscal year.

Read more »

Questions Surround Death of Man in Vineland Police Custody

phillip-white-vineland-police-940x540

Phillip White via Facebook

Vineland police arrived on the 100 block of Grape Street on Tuesday after a report of a disorderly man. They left with 32-year-old Phillip White in an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officials are tight-lipped about the man who died in police custody in Vineland earlier this week, but some details have come out: Witnesses told NBC 10 they saw police punching the man and a police dog biting him.

On radio, a policeman said White tried to go for his gun. A witness told The Daily Journal the man was resisting arrest. Read more »

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