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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Levinson: Trump Entertainment's Concerns About College Impact Difficult to Understand

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson findsTrump Entertainment's concerns about underage gambling difficult to understand as a reason to block Richard Stockton University's plans for an Atlantic City campus.

"When I read the statement by Trump Entertainment that having kids under 21 nearby who might gain entry to the casino illegally would create numerous problems, I was confused," Levinson said. "For years they leased property to Steel Pier right outside their front door that catered almost exclusively to those too young to gamble. They also have restaurants on their properties such as the Hard Rock and the Rain Forest Cafe that also cater to that demographic. I would think it is reasonable to assume that they were able to appropriately handle any potential underaged gamblers who might be attracted by those amenities or they would not have allowed them to stay when their leases expired."

Levinson stated that numerous other examples belie Trump Entertainment's claim that concern about underage gambling is the reason that they oppose Stockton's plans.

"For the last nine years the Tanger Outlet shops, which regularly attract thousands of college age individuals, bordered the former Trump Plaza Casino. To the best of my knowledge Trump Entertainment never complained about any problem with underaged individuals attempting to gamble because of the outlet stores. Let's take it even one step further. The Quarter at Tropicana is also a big draw to young people with attractions like the Imax Theater as well restaurants and shops. The Tropicana apparently is able to discourage underage gambling. You mean to tell me that the Taj Mahal is any different?"

According to Levinson, a Stockton Campus in Atlantic City could be a transformational benefit to Atlantic City. "I don't believe that Stockton's presence in Atlantic City is a panacea for all the city's ills, but it would be a tremendous asset and could play a significant role in the revitalization Atlantic City so badly needs. I have no doubt that Trump Entertainment has the talent and ability to deal with any challenges a nearby college campus might bring just as businesses do in other college communities. I urge them to be a good corporate citizen by finding a way to not only accommodate Stockton, but to help ensure its success."

"Whether or not Trump Entertainment is within its legal right in this dispute with Caesars and Stockton University, I would remind them that just because you could do something doesn't mean you should," concluded Levinson. "A reconsideration would certainly be appreciated. We need a break."

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