City's 11 casinos have been reeling from more than three straight years of falling gambling revenues

Atlantic City officials have agreed to let the state take control of the city's troubled finances.

The seaside resort’s 11 casinos have been reeling from more than three straight years of falling gambling revenues as a result of the recession and increased competition in neighboring states, particularly in eastern Pennsylvania.

Gov. Chris Christie said the city stands at a “crossroads” where its “future as a resort destination are now taking shape”.

“We want to help Atlantic City through this difficult period, but we also want the city to improve and maximize its management and fiscal policies so it is best-positioned for revitalization and long-term prosperity,” the Republican said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.

The arrangement will allow the city to gradually close its $9.5 million budget deficit over five years, sparing residents and businesses a significantly larger property tax increase this year. The state’s Local Finance Board voted Tuesday to approve bonding to pay for Atlantic City’s tax appeals. Under the agreement, city officials reduced a previous request to exceed the state property tax cap by nearly $10 million to just over $2 million instead.

Other benefits of state supervision include allowing the city to defer some expenses. The state may also provide staff and resources to help the city with its finances.