The decision by New Jersey legislators to consider moving casinos outside of Atlantic City was brought about mainly due to the pressure being imposed by the casino industry from neighboring states. Four out of the twelve casinos that operated in Atlantic City have closed over the last 24 months due to a sluggish market and that trend is expected to continue in 2016.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has put forth a proposal to build casinos outside of Atlantic City for the first time in an effort to stop New Jersey gamblers from travelling out of state and playing at other casinos. His proposal isn’t being welcomed by Atlantic City’s casinos as they believe building more casinos outside of Atlantic City will further eat into the revenue of the remaining eight casinos.
The mayors of Newark, Paterson and Jersey City have backed Prieto’s proposal as two out of these three locations could turn out to be home for the two new casinos that Prieto wants approved. Leaders of the Senate and Assembly are pushing different ballot questions which will be submitted in November for voters in New Jersey to voice their opinion.
The Senate version wants two casinos to be built outside New Jersey and is willing to offer these two projects to existing casino owners in Atlantic City while the Assembly version wants just one of these projects to be built by an existing casino owner. The three mayors prefer the Assembly version as they believe it gives Northern Jersey a better deal since the new casinos will send a smaller amount of gambling tax revenue to Atlantic City.
The elections take place in November 2016 and both sides have been urged by numerous parties to reach an agreement as to which proposal is going to be put before the voters. The two new casinos will not only generate more revenue for the garden state but will also create a number of employment opportunities in part time contract jobs and full time jobs once these two casinos open.
Raymond Pocino, vice president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America which represents over 45,000 workers all across the US has urged both sides to make a decision quickly.
In a statement, Raymond Pocino, vice president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “There are areas of disagreement that must be overcome, and overcome soon, if we are to reclaim our position in the gaming industry. Clearly, the goals of expanding casino gaming are too important and too critical to the future well-being of this state to be thrown away by disagreement on what are relatively small matters compared to the bigger picture.”