GAME OVER A timeline of key Atlantic City events since casino gambling became legal, culminating in a state takeover: May 26, 1978: Less than two years after voters agreed to amend the state constitution to allow casinos in Atlantic City, singer Steve Lawrence, accompanied by Gov.
Brendan Byrne and other dignitaries, throws the dice at Resorts Casino Hotel to open New Jersey’s first legal gaming hall.
1984: The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is created to funnel casino money into public improvements and housing.
To date, the agency has spent $1.8 billion on more than 400 projects statewide.
March 1984: Mayor Michael Matthews loses a recall election to James Usry.
Matthews later pleads guilty to one count of extorting $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a developer tied to convicted crime boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and enters federal prison in December.
The former mayor serves 51⁄2 years and works as a golf director at a country club upon his release.
May 1989: Elsinore’s Atlantis Casino Hotel, the former Playboy, becomes the first casino to close, four years after creditors forced it into bankruptcy.
As dealer Stan Kowal dealt his last hand, more gaming regulators were in the casino than customers, and gamblers were saying "Good luck" to Atlantis workers. Christie plans takeover of Atlantic City casino district, sale of Meadowlands Racetrack • N. gaming industry massive overhaul: Winners & Losers • N. has a history of state takeovers of local governments, agencies July 1989: Sen. Jim Florio gives a speech in Atlantic City but dodges reporters’ questions about the possibility of a state takeover of the resort.
Other casinos, including Resorts and Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal, will survive bankruptcies. Christie plans takeover of Atlantic City casino district, sale of Meadowlands Racetrack • Atlantic City casinos have been struggling to compete with gambling in surrounding states • N. has a history of state takeovers of local governments, agencies • N. Richard Codey (D-Essex), a co-sponsor of the law that legalized gambling in the state, is among legislators calling for the state to step in after Atlantic City Mayor James Usry and more than a dozen others are arrested on corruption charges. Takeover talk subsides after Jim Whelan, now a Democratic state senator from Atlantic County, wins the mayoral race — ousting the then-indicted Usry.
More coverage: • Atlantic City officials, gamblers have mixed reactions on N. takeover of the casino district • Christie's proposal may lead to Meadowlands, Monmouth Park racetracks sale, closure • Atlantic City: Timeline of events since casino gambling became legal • N. December 1991: Usry admits taking $6,000 in campaign cash without intending to report it and enters a pretrial-intervention program.
Taking that course allows his record to be expunged. casino, sports industries • Sports Authority needs N. bailout funds to continue operations, state auditor says • Editorial: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority's time has passed. In documents reviewed by the Star Ledger, Governor Chris Christie plans to announce on Wednesday an overhaul that seems to gamble on just that.