The Republican governor of New Jersey has reiterated his support for a coming casino-expansion referendum that would allow areas in the north of the state to bid for the right to operate a pair of new casinos.
According to a report from local television broadcaster WCBS-TV, Chris Christie first publicly declared his support for the November referendum five months ago and has now revealed that he intends to cast his ballot in favour of the measure.
Newark-born Christie, who is a supporter of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and has been appointed to head up the controversial Republican candidate’s transition team in the event he is elected, made the revelation during a statehouse news conference on Tuesday and stated that he would campaign in favour of the November ballot question if asked.
The successful passage of the November referendum by New Jersey voters could see a $4 billion casino, hotel and entertainment project brought to Jersey City, which lies just across the Hudson River from the 8.5 million residents of New York City, while a second proposal calls for the construction of a casino in addition to a popular music museum at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in nearby Bergen County.
WCBS-TV reported that 53-year-old Christie had earlier threatened to pull his support for the casino expansion measure if his preferred plan for bailing out Atlantic City did not pass through the New Jersey Legislature. A host of groups have since been established to lobby against the introduction of casinos in northern New Jersey including one calling itself Trenton’s Bad Bet while a recent poll of registered voters put support for the referendum at as low as 35% against 57% standing in opposition.
Recently, New York State Senator John Bonacic predicted that his state could allow additional gambling venues to open sooner rather than later should New Jersey voters approve the casino-expansion measure in November. New York residents approved a referendum of their own almost three years ago that allows for up to seven non-aboriginal resort casinos in the eastern state but officials have so far authorized only four.