Atlantic City’s credit rating has improved from Moody’s third-lowest rating, Caa3, up four spots to the positive-outlook rating of B2, the investment agency announced late Thursday.

Ongoing efforts to diversify the city’s tax base, the recent and improving health of the casino industry, and the successful implementation of the casino payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program all played a role in the city’s improved rating, Moody’s Investors Service said.

“The Moody’s credit upgrade is one more step in the right financial direction for Atlantic City,” said Mayor Frank Gilliam. “We still have a lot of work to be done, but the City of Atlantic City looks forward to continued growth.”

The rating is also informed by the continued strong oversight of the state, which has a stable rating of A3, Moody’s said.

“Once again, we are seeing that our collaborative and cooperative approach to turning Atlantic City around was the right path to take,” said Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver in a joint statement released Friday. “This is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we are committed to working with local leaders to ensure the city’s long-term sustainability and financial viability.”

The Moody’s upgrade comes less than a month after Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings upgraded the city’s credit rating from CCC+ to B.

“The ratings agencies clearly recognize the significant hard work and collaboration being done by Atlantic City and the state to return the city to sound financial footing,” said Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs, which has oversight of the city. “Using the recently issued Atlantic City Transition Report as a guideline and the newly created Atlantic City Executive Council as a catalyst, we are optimistic that the city, state and partners in the civic, private, educational and philanthropic sectors can continue to make progress in such areas as planning and development, economic diversification, employment initiatives and budgetary practices, which will help keep the positive momentum going.”

The city’s new B2 rating reflects its continued but reduced financial and economic distress, Moody’s said.

The rating still remains below investment grade, according to the investment agency.

While the prior rating meant the city was a very high credit risk and in poor financial standing, the new rating means the city is a high credit risk, and the city’s credit is speculative, Moody’s said.

The positive outlook means Moody’s could upgrade the city’s credit rating again in the next 12 to 24 months, the company said.

Never miss breaking news as it happens! Sign up now to receive alerts delivered to your inbox.

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments