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As Atlantic City Casinos Close, Gov. Christie Hopes To Revive Gambling Destination

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Lady Luck isn't exactly smiling on Atlantic City these days. Two casinos are expected to close by next week and lawmakers on both sides are working to save the gambling town and push for casinos up north.

The Revel Hotel and Casino, Trump Plaza Casino and now Showboat are all shutting down because they can't turn a profit in Atlantic City, CBS 2's Christine Sloan reported.

It has residents worried about the future of the gambling destination, especially with Showboat closing Sunday.

"Terrible. I'm very disappointed. I didn't think of all of them, this one would close," Showboat customer Kathleen Quilty-Bussey said.

More than 7,000 employees from all three casinos will lose their jobs.

"It's a bummer. I hate to see it go," Martin Watt said, a Showboat bartender.

"It's scary, scary time for my family," another employee told Sloan.

The problem is so serious that Gov. Christie will be front and center at a summit in September to determine the future of Atlantic City, which has been facing competition from New York and Pennsylvania.

"It's not a monopoly anymore. In fact, 40-some states have gaming now so now we're going to find a new way to go in Atlantic City," Gov. Christie said.

Christie says he'd like to see Atlantic City become a  resort destination much like Point Pleasant Beach down the Jersey Shore.

"It has to become resort like this where folks come not just to gamble, but come with their families to have a great vacation," Gov. Christie said.

"We're not big gamblers, but if it's more like a tourist destination, we would absolutely go," Ridgewood resident Tom Curley said.

Business leaders are also pushing for casinos in the Meadowlands, but New Jersey law does not allow them anywhere else in the state.

Meadowlands Plan
Meadowlands Chamber has plans for 250,000- square-foot casino and 1 million-square-foot convention center at sports complex. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

A lawmaker has drafted legislation to put a referendum on the 2015 November ballot to let voters change that.

Sources tell CBS 2 that for the first time, everyone—including the governor and lawmakers on both sides—may just support that idea.

The governor says in the meantime, members of his labor department are in Atlantic City helping those who will lose their jobs.

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