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Grapevine: Between inlet, Hard Rock's place

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Plans to expand Stockton College's footprint in Atlantic City could wind up at the site once slated for a new Hard Rock casino, and not the Southeast Inlet, a source said.

While such plans are still largely conceptual, the source said officials are leaning away from the inlet, which has been floated since last year as a home for new academic space and student housing for the Galloway-based college. Another concept calls for a site on Albany Avenue, where Hard Rock had hoped to build a 200-room hotel before shelving the plan last year.

Redeveloping the inlet section is among the top priorities for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees real estate and tourism projects in Atlantic City. In recent months, a project backed by former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal has emerged as a contender to help revitalize the dilapidated blocks near the Revel and Showboat casinos, with a movie theater and other commercial development.

Online, but off the air

For casino owners, the long road to legalizing i-gaming was just the beginning. Now, they have to effectively market those services to New Jersey gamblers.

But one insider says they'll have to do it without Comcast Corp.

The source said the Philadelphia-based cable giant, which has a strong presence in New Jersey, won't accept online gaming advertising, because interstate online gaming is unlawful. That shouldn't deter Comcast, the source said, since New Jersey will offer only intrastate gaming — meaning only those in the Garden State can participate.

In an emailed response, Comcast said they do not accept advertising for online gambling, but that the policy is under review.

Major networks have had no problem taking money from the gaming industry, said the source, who is puzzled over the cable provider's position.

"I don't know what Comcast is thinking," the source said. "I guess they're not."

Hoping Alcatel heeds call

Alcatel-Lucent's plans for global downsizing — including a projected 900 job cuts in its home country of France — have drawn protests in Paris and vocal pleas from the French government to soften the cuts.

Things are quieter — at least, publicly — here in New Jersey, where the company employs about 3,000.

A source who advocates for the business community was unaware of lobbying by private or public sectors to persuade the company to mitigate the impact of potential cuts, which have yet to be specified as they pertain to the United States. But the source said he expects entities such as the Business Action Center, which works to help companies remain and expand in New Jersey, to be monitoring the situation.

"I'm sure they're on it," the source said. "I would hope they had advance warning. But sometimes, it's as much a surprise to them as it is to us."

A BAC representative said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and representatives of the center "are engaged in ongoing discussions with Alcatel-Lucent to minimize any potential impact to New Jersey and discuss all the alternatives available here."

Alcatel-Lucent hasn't broken down job cuts by locality in the United States, other than to say 2,100 of its job reductions would occur in the Americas. The rest are in Europe and elsewhere abroad. About 4 percent of the company's 72,000-member workforce is based in New Jersey.

Most Alcatel-Lucent employees in New Jersey are based at former Bell Labs facilities in the Murray Hill section of New Providence. The company also has a research plant in Holmdel, plus remote employees scattered around the state.

Alcatel purchased Lucent, the former equipment arm of AT&T, in 2006, but has struggled since, posting a string of annual losses — including a $1.86 billion in 2012.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Tom Bergeron at tomb@njbiz.com.

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