Voters Urged to Support the Expansion of Casinos by NJGCC

by Jim Hall

NJ GamblingWith November basically two months away, supporters of the referendum to see casinos added in the northern region of New Jersey are ramping up their efforts.

Gambling news continues in New Jersey as the state that offers a variety of gambling is considering expanding further. The hot topic of debate for some time now has been as to if the state should allow gambling to take place outside of Atlantic City. For decades, Atlantic City was the only area in which casinos could be created but now, a referendum on the November ballot could see the state adding two venues up north.

Ending the Monopoly

With the passing of the gaming referendum in New Jersey this November, Atlantic City would see their monopoly of casino gambling come to a close. The market could be impacted on a significant level, possibly causing even more land based venues to shut down. The passage of the referendum would allow for two mega resorts to be created in the northern portion of New Jersey. With the creation of such casinos, the existing market could be at risk for more closures.

In 2014, four casinos closed down and this October, the Taj Mahal is set to close. If Carl Ichan follows through with his efforts then there will be only seven casinos located in Atlantic City after the 10th of October.

Support for the Referendum

There has been much support garnered for the referendum, including backing from several top officials in the state. Governor Chris Christie is in support of the measure as well as Stephen Sweeney, the State Senate President. Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has also decided to join in as a supporter of the efforts to expand gambling northward.

Caputo is the Chairman of the Tourism Gaming and Arts Committee who has recently expressed he is supportive of the referendum. In a statement, Caputo said that the powerful and well-heeled political, corporate and labor interests outside the state will spend whatever it takes to defeat the referendum for North Jersey casinos in order to keep billions of dollars of our gaming revenue flowing out of New Jersey and into their pockets. A vote ‘YES” will help the state and a vote ‘NO’ will help them. Caputo stated that this cannot be allowed to happen.

Supporters See Tax Revenue Increase for State and Programs

Supporters of the referendum believe that bringing casinos to the north will help to increase the tax revenues for the state. Supporters also feel the venues will help to support programs such as education and benefits for seniors. Opponents of the measure feel that Atlantic City will face even more losses than they already have. Estimates have shown that the new venues will cost around $1 billion each and as much as $200 million in tax revenues would be set aside to assist Atlantic City.

Divided at the Polls

Voters seem to be divided at the polls with both supporters and opponents trying to push their agendas to see the legislation either move forward or fail. One group showing opposition is the New York Gaming Association. This group feel that casinos coming up north would steal the clientele of New York City. Additional groups that are in opposition of the referendum include Trenton’s Bad Bet and No North Jersey Casino Coalition. Commercials have been launched to try and fight the referendum though no one has any idea as to who is creating the ads.

Only time will tell if the referendum will pass or if the anti-gambling expansion group will have their way and gambling will not be moved out of Atlantic City and offered in the northern area of the state.