State lawmakers of New Jersey are pushing to expand gaming in the state to be approved outside the Atlantic City area. Atlantic City is floundering and lawmakers feel that expanding into the northern portion of the state would create an increase in revenues as well as assistance for the gaming city. However, some experts are urging lawmakers be cautious and slow down when considering expanding gaming within the state.
Experts believe the market is already saturated and the customer base in the state is shrinking. This means it is uncertain as to if casinos in East Rutherford and Jersey City would attract gamblers that would go to venues in other states instead. These two areas are locations that have been proposed to be used for new venues in the state.
Voters will have the ultimate decision in November as a measure is expected to be added to the ballot by state legislature. A question would be added to the ballot that would ask voters if they feel the New Jersey constitution should have an amendment that would allow casinos outside of the Atlantic City area.
Democrats seem to be the majority when it comes to being in favor of the initiative being added to the ballot and the move comes as a top priority as the last days are at hand with the state Assembly session. Many experts believe that legislators have spoke with only those who are in favor of casino expansion rather than speaking with individuals who might see the other side of things.
Deb Figart and Ellen Mutari, both economists at Stockton University, have studied casino gaming in the state of New Jersey and published a book, ‘Just One More Hand: Life in the Casino Economy’ in February 2015. The book discusses the lives of casino workers in Atlantic City and when speaking with The Jersey Journal, both women stated they are not very hopeful to the prospects of expanding gaming. The two feel it is not the best way to use the state’s resources.
Democrats have stated that the expansion would result in 12,000 to 20,000 new jobs in the state. The economists have doubt in these numbers. While Mutari and Figart believe that construction jobs would increase, once the casinos are completed, the jobs remaining would be low-wage options, rather than good-paying positions democrats are predicting.
For now, it seems the majority of legislators feel the amendment to offer gaming outside Atlantic City is the only choice. Atlantic City has been struggling for some time with revenues continue to plummet each year. A big struggle is to attract the younger crowd, a new generation of gamers, who just don’t seem interested in slot machines and table games.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney does not agree with the economists of Stockton University’s beliefs and stated the women are going to say everything negative they can about casinos.