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Atlantic City Casinos Not Worried About Housing Ban

25 September 2002

ATLANTIC CITY – As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "They're already short about 2,000 employees.

"They're going to need another 5,000 by next summer.

"But local casino executives are not worried about a new-housing moratorium in Atlantic County's three booming municipalities.

"Then again, the officials making that assessment don't include Robert Boughner, CEO of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the casino responsible for the labor crush next year. Boughner has been traveling and said he was unaware of the housing moratorium until told by a reporter.

"…Executives at the other casinos, though, say they're not sweating Gov. James E. McGreevey's executive order - yet. One reason is that the industry's labor shortage is mostly in lower-paying front-line jobs, typically filled by employees who don't buy the $150,000-and-up houses in the affected suburbs.

"…McGreevey, citing the statewide drought emergency, signed an order that prevents water service to new construction in the three rapidly growing Pinelands-designated growth communities. The ban will continue until he ends the drought emergency or until a yearlong study concludes there is enough water to handle the housing growth.

"Richard Perniciaro said a long housing moratorium would hurt the casinos.

"`It's a problem in the sense that the people at the lowest salaries are the ones who need to live closest to Atlantic City,' said Perniciaro, who directs the Center for Regional Business Research at Atlantic Cape Community College.

"…More than 82 percent of the casinos' 45,000-plus employees live in Atlantic County.

"The new-housing ban could not only cause a housing shortage but also make existing homes too expensive for casino employees, said Wallace Barr, chief operating officer of Park Place Entertainment Corp.

"`It could put a crimp on the availability of housing and potentially discourage potential employees,' Barr said…"

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