As Casino Gambling Busts, Atlantic City Firms Play On

August 27, 2014 – In The News
New Jersey Law Journal

Nicholas Casiello, Jr. was quoted in the New Jersey Law Journal article “As Casino Gambling Busts, Atlantic City Firms Play On.” While the full text can be found in the August 27, 2014, issue of the New Jersey Law Journal, a synopsis is noted below.

The recent closures of three Atlantic City casinos would seem to have dealt a cruel hand to the community’s legal industry, but nearly four decades after gambling was legalized in the city, lawyers there say they’re carrying on.

For attorneys in real estate, land use, tax and other practices utilized by casinos, diversification has meant finding work in other sectors, particularly development of nongaming properties.

“I couldn’t make a living on the business that we have in Atlantic City,” said Casiello.

“The closing process for a casino generates a lot of work. But of course a closed casino generates none,” he said.

The firm represents, in addition to casinos, manufacturers of gaming equipment and private equity funds who invest in gaming and require licensure to do so. Also, the practice has expanded into other jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, which dealt the most devastating blow to Atlantic City when it legalized gambling a decade ago, according to Casiello.

“It was different in Atlantic City in the beginning because, other than Nevada lawyers, no one had gaming regulatory experience,” Casiello said, referring to the early days of legalized gambling. “At that point in time, all my work was in Atlantic City, and there was enough to sustain me and others.”

While gaming attorneys have been in demand elsewhere, the impending casino closures are “not good news” for other practices, such as employment, personal injury and real estate, Casiello said.

“While the nongaming amenities are growing, I don’t think they can replace the loss of business from the closure of casinos – certainly not today,” Casiello said.

Gaming, like many other industries, and Atlantic City, like many other markets, is in transition, according to Casiello.

“Lawyers do well in good times and bad times – it’s just a question of which kinds of practices do well,” he said. “There will be opportunities for lawyers in this area. It just may be in different areas of the practice.”