In summer of 2014, the Senate President in New Jersey, Stephen Sweeney, showed support for an idea to expand gambling from Atlantic City to the northern area of the state. The argument was that the casinos in North Jersey could share revenues with Atlantic City to help the struggling resort area. This effort may now be put on hold until next year to ensure voter approval.
In the constitution of New Jersey, gaming is restricted to Atlantic City only. An amendment would have to be passed in legislature and then approved by the voters to allow gaming in the North Jersey area. Lawmakers have considered placing a measure for expansion on the November ballot but many are not expecting a big voter turnout this year.
The debate is whether or not an amendment to expand would pass in the upcoming ballot. If the amendment was not approved this time, lawmakers would have to wait a two year time frame to make another attempt according to the state constitution.
A debate also stands as to where the casinos would be placed in North Jersey. Many legislators in Atlantic County are opposed to expanded gaming in the area. A package of bills is also set to be signed into law by the fiscal year end to stabilize the finances of Atlantic City.
The legislation includes an exemption for the eight remaining casinos in the area from paying property taxes for the next fifteen years. After this time frame, $150 million a year for two years would be paid collectively with $120 million paid annually for 13 years after. This legislation was introduced in 2014 but had stalled for many months.
A poll released in early March showed a significant decline in voter support for expanded gambling in the state.