Trenton’s Bad Bet To Continue Efforts in Fighting North Jersey Casinos

by Jim Hall

Trenton's Bad BetAnti-casino expansion group Trenton’s Bad Bet has stated this week they are prepared to continue the fight against casinos coming to North Jersey.

The state of New Jersey has seen a flurry of activity when it comes to gaming expansion. The state has seen new online casinos pop up, legislation up for a vote for an expansion into the northern portion of the state and more. While many legislators and gamers are all for an expansion of gaming options, there are those that are opposed. Trenton’s Bad Bet is one such group that is opposed to casino gaming expansion in the state, particularly bringing gaming venues to the northern portion of the state. The group announced this week that they plan on fighting any efforts to expand gaming in the state, other than Atlantic City.

New York Based Group

Trenton’s Bad Bet is comprised of funding from casino interests of New York, who feel they would be threatened if casino gaming were to take place in the northern portion of the state. A referendum was placed on the November ballot to see two casinos added to North Jersey if passed and the group spent over $14 million to oppose this measure. Their efforts seem to have paid off as the bill was not approved by voters.

Funding the campaign were the owners of Yonkers Raceway and Aqueduct plus an upcoming casino for the Catskills and Resorts Atlantic City. These venues would have been affected by casinos added to north Jersey.

Internet Cafes and Video Lottery Terminals

Talk has also surfaced to add video lottery terminals or internet cafes to the racetracks of the states. The group is not fond of these ideas as well. Internet cafes could be presumably legal if they were to offer iGaming that is already permitted in New Jersey. Video lottery terminals were pushed earlier in the year by Governor Jim McGreevey in efforts to not pass an amendment for slot gaming outside of AC. However, VLTs operate in a manner similar to slot machines and there were questions raised as to if the idea was constitutional that the proposal was dropped.

The North Jersey plan was actually rejected by voters by over two thirds in each county, with 79% overall voting no on the referendum. The Trenton’s Bad Bet marketing campaign was effective, with supporters even discussing how effective it was.

Press Release by Trenton’s Bad Bet

This week, Trenton’s Bad Bet released a press release discussing how they plan to continue the fight. As North Jersey casino proponents continue their attempts to go around the will of the voter by pushing for expanded gaming via video lottery terminals or internet cafes at racetracks, the group will prepare to continue their fight.

Trenton’s Bad Bet Executive Director, Bill Cortese, stated that the continued effort to expand gaming outside of Atlantic City after the defeat of the ballot is a slap in the face to voters of New Jersey. Cortese also stated that the move reinforces the case that special interests will stop at nothing to have their way.

Several studies and polls have been conducted on the subject of gaming expansion in the state with the latest coming from Quinnipiac University. The recent poll revealed that 62% of voters in New Jersey believe that casinos have not been good for New Jersey. 79% remain in opposition to the expansion of casino gaming outside of Atlantic City.

Cortese stated that Trenton’s Bad Bet will continue to work with a coalition of partners and have an active presence in the state to educate residents on the dangers of proposals for gaming expansion.