Casino gambling, of course, is a very competitive business, and for much of the industry's history in Atlantic City, that cutthroat competition held back the resort.

The twin developments of the Tourism District and the Atlantic City Alliance changed that. But for too long, the lack of cooperation among the casinos - the concern that a particular event designed to help the city as a whole would hurt an individual casino or two - led to a kind of paralysis. Now the city's casinos seem to recognize that, for the most part, they are all in this together. That's a welcome development.

It is important to note, however, that the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa should not be accused of reverting to those bad old days just because it challenged its Special Improvement District assessment.

Originally, the SID did not include the Marina District. But then the Tourism District was created, and it does include the Marina District. The SID became a division of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which runs the Tourism District. And suddenly, the Borgata, Harrah's Resort and Golden Nugget Atlantic City found themselves being told by the CRDA to pay their share of the SID's annual assessment of $38 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Borgata filed a lawsuit arguing that the SID's work of cleaning and landscaping, and its ambassador program, are focused on and around the Boardwalk, and the Marina District gets little to no benefit from the assessment. Borgata further argued that it shouldn't be asked to pay for something that helps its Boardwalk-based competitors.

This had the potential to be a damaging fight for the city - and at a time when the city certainly does not need any internecine warfare.

But Borgata and the CRDA deserve praise for apparently reaching an amicable settlement. If approved by the CRDA board, the Marina District casinos will get a 25 percent discount on their SID assessment, paying $28.50 per $100,000 of assessed value. The CRDA will make up the difference - around $300,000 - in the SID's current budget.

Frankly, we could argue that the Marina District casinos are entitled to more of a discount, all things considered. The SID's crew does great work - but they do it in parts of the city far from the marina, with very little benefit to the casinos in that part of town.

But we're just glad this dispute did not escalate. Good for the CRDA, which recognized that a change in the assessment was warranted. And good for Borgata for accepting the 25 percent discount. Case closed.


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