North Jersey Gaming Efforts at a Stand Still

Steve Sweeney

Steve SweeneyEfforts to provide gaming in the northern portion of New Jersey are at a stand still with Senate President Steve Sweeney stating that lawmakers will most likely not be trying again in 2018 or 2019.

In the past, lawmakers in New Jersey tried to see casino gaming offered in the northern portion of the state. Voters had the opportunity to say yes or no to a referendum that would have seen two casinos created in North Jersey, ending the monopoly of casino gaming in Atlantic City. Voters were not in favor of the changes, with almost 80% of those voting choosing NO. Now it seems that efforts to revive a gaming extension in the state will not be taking place any time soon, based on information provided by Senate President Steve Sweeney.

North Jersey Gaming Efforts Stall

Senate President Steve Sweeney was interviewed recently by The Associated Press where he discussed North Jersey gaming efforts. Sweeney stated that he does not see lawmakers of the state trying to revive the gaming efforts next year or in 2019. Several people were interviewed by the AP with the majority feeling that it is too soon to try and gain voter approval for North Jersey gaming.

Atlantic City incoming mayor, Frank Gilliam Jr., was interviewed as well and stated that he was fine with his city maintaining exclusivity and he is happy that the issue has been put away, at least for now. Atlantic City will not have to worry about any outside competition for a few years, at least from the state of New Jersey.

Racetracks are also happy, at least for now. When the referendum was up for a vote, the racetracks in the northern region of the state were optimistic, especially the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadowlands is owned by Jeff Gural who wanted to be able to offer casino gaming at his facility. The track was actually set to work with Hard Rock International in regards to casino gaming.

Despite the setback, Gural is remaining patient. He doesn’t mind how long he has to wait but wants to be sure that when the subject is up for vote again, that the outcome will be a positive one. Currently, there is a bill that will help bring casino gaming to the racetracks, this time in online form. State legislature is currently reviewing a bill that will allow racetracks to create so called internet cafes, featuring casino games online. Bettors of the races will be able to visit these ‘cafes’ and place wagers on their favorite casino games online.

New York in the Way

Another issue in bringing gaming to the northern portion of the state is New York. A gaming expansion was approved in New York some time ago and three casinos are currently in the works. Three casinos are set to open downstate and it is not the best time to begin working on legislation to bring casinos to other areas of NJ.

Once the casinos are up and running, they may prove to be too much competition for the state and legislation may be created then to bring back New Jersey players to the state instead of seeing them move in to New York. According to Gural, once the New York casinos are up and running, New Jersey will need to revenues his racetrack could provide with expanded gaming.

Gural feels that the casinos in NYC will be the best way to secure a casino for the Meadowlands in the future. Many like Gural hoped to be offering casino gaming before New York was up and running, but for now will be satisfied to wait and hopefully offer such games in the near future.