For months now, the hot topic in the state of New Jersey has been a casino expansion. For decades, the only area in the state to offer casino gaming has been Atlantic City. Over the past few years, the gambling city has begun to fall under hard times, with four casinos out of twelve closing in 2014. Officials of the city have been trying to come up with a way to see gambling successful once again, now considering an expansion into the North Jersey region. A referendum is set to be placed on the November ballot so voters have a say in the gambling expansion but according to a new public poll, the plan to expand may not be successful.
The poll, created by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind, was released yesterday and states that 35% of registered voters are in favor of an expansion in the gambling industry to two counties located in North Jersey. According to the poll, 57% are opposed to the amendment. The new poll suggests that residents of New Jersey are not as supportive of the expansion as they once were an earlier poll from January showed 42% were in support of the expansion.
With July only being about half way over, there is still time for residents to show support for the casino expansion plans. Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey President Debra DiLorenzo, who is also the No North Jersey Casinos Coalition Chairwoman, has stated that efforts showing opposition of the ballot question will be increases after Labor Day. The coalition in which DiLorenzo is associated with has over 300 companies, organizations, officials of the government and citizens involved and it is unclear just how the groups plan on advertising against the referendum. According to the Press of Atlantic City, DiLorenzo did state that the group is trying to get members of the coalition who are not registered to vote to do so, making more voters for their position.
The poll released on Monday suggests that voters are not ready to see gambling move out of Atlanticf City. PublicMind Director and Professor of Political Science, Krista Jenkins, stated that favorable attitudes towards the expansion has never been part of the landscape. The poll suggests that supporters of the amendment will have to work hard to convince voters that casinos should be created beyond the borders of Atlantic City.
An expansion of gambling into the northern region of the state could have a significant impact on the area of Atlantic City. Just last month, a prediction by Fitch Ratings showed that Atlantic City could see as many as four properties close if North Jersey was allowed to offer casino gambling. Properties would be susceptible to the new casino venues such as the Golden Nugget and the Trump Taj Mahal.
The amendment for expansion in New Jersey will be on the ballot on November 8th and will be listed as such:
- Voting YES is a vote to allow the legislature of New Jersey to pass laws that would allow for two additional counties to each have one casino, thereby ending a four-decade monopoly in Atlantic City.
- Voting NO is a vote to prevent any new casinos.
The reasoning behind the referendum is that the casino industry of the state has been limited to Atlantic City since casinos were made legal back in 1976. Once competition in surrounding states began, there was seven years in which revenues began to continually decrease. Lawmakers decided to draft the proposal for the ballot to establish the new casinos to try and revive the gambling industry of the state.