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If a state or region hemorrhages red ink and faces long-term revenue generating challenges, chances are the governor and legislatures are landing on a quick fix: gambling. Yes show me a state or city in trouble and I bet they’re considering bringing in an Indian Casino, racetrack slot machines, or riverboat poker.

Some governors are even doubling down. Just last week New Jersey’s Chris Christie proposed a state takeover of the gambling district in Atlantic City, an early entrant (back in the late 1970s)for using gambling as a remedy for urban regeneration. For a while, AC became an East Coast alternative to Las Vegas and generated tens of millions in revenues for a suburban state without much industry. But the gaming gambit did little to revive poor neighborhoods adjacent to the casino district, and more recently the proliferation of gambling competition from other nearby needy states has sapped visits to increasingly shabby beachside hotels and their gambling dens. One major AC casino lost its air conditioning in the midst of last week’s hellacious heat wave. And New Jersey faces one of the biggest state budget gaps in the country. 

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