Voter Opposition Grows in Regards to North NJ Casino Plans

by Jim Hall

While many lawmakers would like to see casinos allowed in North Jersey, it seems voter opposition is continuing to grow.

This November, voters in New Jersey will have a big decision to make. For decades, Atlantic City has been the only area of the state in which casinos are legally allowed to exist. The gambling town has been a monopoly that many would like to see dissolved. Lawmakers have actually been able to create a proposal that is now up for a vote this November to see two casinos created in the northern region of the state.

The plan was to see the casinos created, help Atlantic City along the way, as well as provide competition to neighboring states that offer casino gaming. While lawmakers felt the referendum would pass, it seems that is not the case. According to a recent poll, 7 out of 10 voters in the state are now in opposition to the potential for casinos to be added in the north.

Opposition Continues to Grow

In the beginning, it seemed that the decision was split, with voters at a 50/50 decision on what should happen with casino gaming. Over the past few weeks, it seems that a shift has taken place and voters are now leaning more towards opposing the plans for casino gaming in the northern region.

Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMindFairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind conducted the most recent survey which found that those opposed to the proposal in the state has jumped to 70%. Basically, 7 out of 10 individuals in the state do not want to see the referendum passed into law. In June, the percentage of those opposed was at around 58% so the numbers of those against the proposal continues to increase at a steady pace. Those in support of the additional casinos went from 35% to 24% with the latest poll.

From the 12th of October to the 16th, 848 registered voters in the state were polled on their feelings on the subject with a margin of error reported at 3.6% points. Director of PublicMind and a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Krista Jenkins, stated to NJ.com that there has never been a broad and deep support to allow casinos to expand beyond Atlantic City. It is no surprise that the backers of the amendment are having a hard time convincing voters of the idea.

Why Oppose the Proposal?

Of those who are in opposition of the casino proposal for the north, at least 36% of those surveyed voted in opposition due to the fact that they feel the state already has enough casinos in existence. Around 26% stated that the casino gambling up north would harm Atlantic City.

Monetary Support For and Against

The casino plan for North Jersey has seen both support and opposition. Each group has spent tons of cash in an advertising war to try and sway voters to their side of thinking. As much as $5.5 million was spent by such groups as Our Turn NJ and Trenton’s Bad Bet in advertising efforts.

Because of the signs pointing to a NO vote, lawmakers are already trying to find back-up plans. Ralph Caputo is a lawmaker in the state who now has plans to try and get slot machines approved for the racetracks in the state. This would be an alternative means to bringing funds to the state if the referendum to allow two new casinos up north is not approved.

However, Caputo may find opposition for his Plan B as well if this is the next step taken by legislators in order to continue to expand the gambling industry.