North New Jersey Casino Plans Not As Popular with Residents

by Kyle Miller

A new study shows that the plans to create casinos in the northern portion of New Jersey are not as popular with residents as legislators might have thought.

A plan has been in place for some time in the state of New Jersey to try and take away the gambling monopoly of Atlantic City and bring casinos to the northern portion of the state. The plans have seen mixed reviews from legislators as well as residents with a recent poll suggesting that the referendum would not pass if voting were to take place today.

What’s the Plan?

Proponents of the referendum hope that voters will agree to allow casinos to be placed in the northern portion of the state. The plan is to create two gaming venues that will be able to fend off competition from neighboring states as well as provide much-needed assistance to Atlantic City. Opponents do not want to see the referendum approved by voters as it will lead to competition towards the eight remaining venues of Atlantic City, which is soon to be seven as the Taj Mahal is set to close this October.

Both proponents and opponents of the referendum have been pushing for their side, creating advertisements and promotional materials to try and get voters to sway to their side. According to a recent poll, it seems that voters are leaning more towards the opponent’s side. The Rutgers-Eagleton poll concluded that the changes of the referendum passing are quite low currently.

Results of the Poll

NJ.comThe poll results were published by NJ.com which showed that almost 50% of voters polled want to see casinos remain in Atlantic City. Those who are against the plans are actually increasing based on the last survey compared to the one previous. The recent survey was completed two months before the November election is set to take place which includes voting on the referendum. In the survey, it was found that 58% of the voters would vote no for the proposal while 35% would approve the measure. 7% are still unsure.

Rutgers-Eagleton pool interim director, Ashley Koning, stated that Eagleton has been polling on permitting gambling in areas of the state for years, since 1979. Reportedly, residents of New Jersey have never been able to warm up to the idea of casinos being added in another area other than Atlantic City. If the pattern continues, there is little to no hope that the referendum will pass by voters.

History of Casinos in New Jersey

Since 1978, Atlantic City has been the only area of the state that has been allowed to have casino gaming. However, the gambling town has suffered greatly over the past few years. In decades past, visitors came from across the United States as well as internationally to enjoy casino gaming in the Garden State. However, over the past few years, things have changed. In 2014, four casinos shut down leaving the market with only eight after having twelve operating venues. Now the gambling town stands to lose another venue, the Trump Taj Mahal, this October, which will leave only seven casinos remaining.

In the hopes of helping voters lean more towards the pro-casino side, State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has introduced a resolution to educate voters on the plans of the casino expansion. Caputo has recognized the concerns of residents about the amount of money that would be made for the state from the northern region as well as how much in taxes will be paid by casino operators of the new venues. Caputo plans on using his resolution to show voters where the tax money will go and how Atlantic City will benefit as well as counties in the state, senior citizen programs, etc.