The Associated Press recently stated that it had records in its possession which showed that the combined spending by those for and against the November referendum to develop casinos outside of Atlantic City has created a new record with about $20 million being spent so far. Jeff Brindle, the executive director of the Election Law Enforcement Commission believes that the spending may go up to $40 million before the November ballot takes place.
New Jersey voters will decide in November if they want to see casinos developed outside of Atlantic City and should they vote in favor of the referendum, two $1 billion dollar casino resorts will be developed in North Jersey. Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural would likely partner with Hard Rock International to develop a casino at the racetrack facility in Easter Rutherford while billionaire Paul Fireman will develop a $5 billion casino resort in Jersey City. Gural and Fireman were the principle backers of the ‘Our Turn NJ’ campaign.
The ‘Our Turn NJ’ campaign has raised a total of $10 million to date and spent $8.5 million so far but based on numerous polls in the state, the majority of voters are not in favor of developing casinos outside of Atlantic City. The recent poll results in September caused both Gural and Fireman to decide to suspend their advertising campaign.
Earlier this year, the polls showed that it was a fifty-fifty vote on the referendum and this spurred the ‘Trenton’s Bad Bet’ campaign to spend heavily in an attempt to sway voters against the referendum. The campaign has a lot more financial clout as one of its backers includes Genting New York which runs the Resorts World Casino in New York. Genting Malyasia Berhad is the parent company of Genting New York and is reported to have donated $6 million to the campaign. Trenton’s Bad Bet raised a total of $11.6 million to date and has spent $11.3 million so far.
In a statement, a Trenton Bad Bet representative said “Trenton’s Bad Bet has received support from a diverse group of donors from within and outside the state of New Jersey who understand that casino expansion would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic losses for the entire region”.
The Election Law Enforcement Commission records show that in 1976 when a push was made to legalizing gambling in Atlantic City, a total of $5.5 million was spent after taking into consideration inflation. The Associated Press stated that the commission will release official spending reports to the public regarding the North Jersey referendum sometime next week.