In 1976, New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to authorize casino gambling, in Atlantic City. The legislative intent was to use gambling as a unique tool for the urban revitalization of Atlantic City, and to generate revenue to establish new or expanded programs to benefit senior citizens and disabled residents.
As part of the original Casino Control Act enacted in 1977, each casino licensee was required to reinvest 2% of its gross gaming revenue. However, by the beginning of 1984, no casino licensee had yet made any of its required reinvestments. In 1984, the State Legislature established the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), which developed guidelines describing more precisely a casino licensee’s investment obligations consistent with the intent of the original statute. The 1984 law gave each casino a choice to either pay 2.5% of its gaming revenue to the State, or reinvest 1.25% of its gaming revenues through the CRDA in community and economic development projects in Atlantic City and around the State. Without exception, the casinos have chosen reinvestment.
The CRDA’s mission as stipulated in the Casino Control Act is to maintain public confidence in the casino gaming industry as a unique tool of urban redevelopment for the city and to directly facilitate the redevelopment of existing blighted areas as well as address the pressing social and economic needs of the residents of the City of Atlantic City. The only agency of its kind nationwide, the CRDA through its shared powers of planning and zoning with the city, uses casino reinvestments as a catalyst for meaningful, positive change and in doing so, the CRDA has positively altered Atlantic City’s residential, commercial, cultural, and social landscape, while financially supporting quality-of-life improvement efforts throughout the City.