Opponents of the campaign to see two casinos added to the northern portion of New Jersey now have two new allies. Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey and Borough Council President Joe Irace have decided to join the fight against the prospect of two new casinos placed in an area other than Atlantic City. A question will be placed on the ballot this November that would see the venues created, with opponents and proponents of the option coming out in full force as voting draws near.
Oceanport is home to the Monmouth Park Racetrack which would be affected by new casinos if they were allowed to be created nearby. Late last week, Coffey and Irace came out in support of the opposition to the referendum. Coffey stated that Trenton continues to keep the public in the dark and expects voters to support a measure that would fail to help the residents as well as industries they claim to help. According to the Observer, Coffey feels the expansion would only be of benefit to a small group of the well-connected New York developers instead of the citizens who reside in New Jersey.
The bill does not have a set place where the casino will be located but does specify how far venues must be from Atlantic City. Jersey City and the Meadowlands have been considered contenders from the very beginning. Real estate developer Jeff Gural is interested in creating a new casino at the Meadowlands, creating a pro-casino group as well as holding a position as chairman of the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Proponents of the measure state that New Jersey will be able to benefit from opening new casinos outside of the Atlantic City area as they will be able to take on competition in neighboring states. However, based on statistical information as provided by such outlets as Moody’s, a financial ratings agency, further losses within the economy as well as the closure of more casinos in Atlantic City will take place if the venues are created.
Irace feels that the casinos would be a threat to the horse racing venue of Monmouth. Irace stated that the proposed expansion of casinos is a ‘sweetheart deal for developers’ who want to focus on North Jersey at the expense of the Monmouth County horse racing industry. Irace further stated that Trenton has repeatedly relied on the bait and switch tactic to reach goals but voters will not be fooled by such tactics and will be voting no on question one this November.