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.”


One Response

  1. Steven Norton

    I realize there are already several communities in North Jersey that would be interested in hosting a resort casino. But in the deliberations, there are several concerns that need to be addressed. First,excellent access by highway and rail to the residents of North Jersey, Manhattan and Staten Island.Second, a casino tax rate that is high enough that the State seniors benefit, and that a reasonable sum can be offered to Atlantic City, as a consideration for agreeing to give up their NJ gaming exclusive.
    Looking at the three communities now being suggested as a casino host, one stands out in my mind. The Meadowlands. I say this because they could have slot machines in operation within months of a successful referendum, and because Meadowlands operator, Jeff Gural, has offered a slot tax of 55%. Other potential developers would be looking for tax rates more like Atlantic City’s to justify investing $billions of dollars in their projects, and the time frame for new development would be more like 3 to 5 years for licensing, financing and construction. The Meadowlands is project ready, and would possibly bring the unfinished Xanadu Mall along with it and create an unequaled entertainment complex with the sport stadiums and possible future convention/ hotel development.
    New Jersey Legislators, the Governors office and its citizens have to realize that all of Atlantic City’s declining revenues and visitors are totally the result of casino games now available closer to 95% of AC’s previous player base. And gaming in North Jersey will harm Eastern Pennsylvania and New York gaming, much more than it will Atlantic City. New Jersey has 7 million residents that are much closer to Harrah’s Chester, Parx, Sands Bethlehem, the Poconos and Yonkers, than AC. But a well located North Jersey casino would not only bring back much play from NJ citizens, but would be more convenient to Manhattan and Staten Island residents, by highway and rail.
    And AC could use its new funds to underwrite needed air service into AC International; opening up the convention trades, that would provide profitable off season, mid week overnight demand to AC resorts. While also reach casino customers, who are in markets beyond the reach of our previous transportation mainstay, line run buses.


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