Atlantic City enjoyed a casino monopoly in the state for nearly 40 years due to a 1976 approval that is written into the state’s constitution. There is a group of people who would like to change the law and allow casinos to be built in other parts of New Jersey. For the changes to happen a referendum is necessary, as well as NJ resident support. A poll released on June 24th reveals 57% of the 931 residents polled are against allowing gambling to expand beyond Atlantic City. There were a little more than one in three respondents or 36% in favor of expanding gambling. The numbers have been drifting away from the idea over the last three polls taken.
The survey is the beginning to an actual vote on the ballet in November 2015. Senate President Stephen Sweeney told voters in 2014, he would have a ballot question regarding the expansion of gambling. Sweeney has to wait for officials to approve the question for the ballot. The deadline is coming up quickly, without any indication as to whether officials will allow the question. The ballot has to be finalized before August 3rd.
A public hearing, public comment period, and three-fifths assembly and state senate approval is required before the question can appear on the ballet in November.
In a recent media statement Sweeney said the question might have better luck and more support in 2016 since it will be an election year. Several counties including Monmouth, Sussex, Ocean, Mercer, and Middlesex are interested in taking part in the casino expansion.
When asked about the tax benefits of expanding casinos, state residents are split by approximately 42 in favor and 44 percent opposed. The other percentage is those who did not vote either for or against.
A third of the residents believe they would be more likely to visit a casino not located in Atlantic City, while 31 percent they would still go to AC even if the monopoly is over.
The survey polled locations visitors might go. Meadowlands won hands down with 69%. 49 percent would visit Monmouth Park, 41 percent wanted a casino in Jersey City, and 29 thought Newark would be a good option. Non-gaming attractions were also considered as more popular than gambling at these new establishments, according to the survey.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll was conducted by cold calling 931 adults. The margin of error was rated at 3.4 plus or minus percent.
Some have questioned the polls methodology saying that if specific locations for potential casinos were mentioned, the results might be quite different as many respondents may not want a casino “in their backyard.”