November 9, 2016 — Roseland, Meadowlands, USA

Ron Simoncini, Executive Director for The North Jersey Gaming Advocates, Inc. issued the following statement regarding voter rejection of Ballot Question #1, which would have expanded gaming to Northern New Jersey:

“This election is not about the wisdom of our best interests. It is about the people’s mistrust of government. We need to revive the public’s belief in being able to act on their own interests.”

Roseland – Paul Fireman and Jeff Gural, the founders of OUR Turn NJ, issued the following statement regarding voter rejection of Ballot Question #1, which would have expanded gaming to Northern New Jersey:

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, by tonight’s result. We have seen for some time now that the people of New Jersey were unhappy with the lack of details on this issue. We do not view the failure to pass Question #1 as a rejection of gaming expansion, but as a rejection of our state’s current political climate and a failure to have all the facts presented to them.

New Jersey has the chance for billions in private investment and to create thousands of new jobs. We cannot squander this opportunity to our neighboring states. But New Jersey has to start from the beginning on gaming expansion. What the people of this state need to see is a transparent, competitive plan that outlines in full detail how gaming expansion would work. Anything short of that will mean that we continue to lose out on all the jobs, revenue, and economic opportunities that gaming expansion can bring to New Jersey.”

OUR Turn NJ suspended its paid media campaign in September after internal and third-party polling noted how difficult the state’s political climate made passage. The data noted that, at the time, that “Voters have a very negative outlook on the direction of the state and have extremely low confidence that the revenue promised in the Casino Expansion Amendment will be delivered as it is promised. Just 19% of New Jersey voters believe that the state is headed in the right direction. And an even lower proportion (10%) have a high level of confidence that the state will deliver upon the promised revenue as stated in the ballot measure.”

The polling showed that, while there were strong arguments to be made for the benefits of gaming expansion, “Respondents react very strongly to reasons to oppose the Amendment, which play to the lack of specifics and distrust directed at state government in Trenton. For comparison, the highest testing positive message is viewed as a very strong reason to support the measure by 48% of voters. The four negative messages tested in the survey all receive anywhere between 56% to 60% of voters who say that each one is a very strong reason to oppose the measure.”

Tonight’s outcome mirrors New Jersey’s first efforts to legalize casino gaming in 1974. In that year, the New Jersey voters rejected a ballot initiative to legalize gaming due to a lack of specifics in the ballot question about where casinos would be located. Two years later, a revised ballot question passed. One of the main reasons the 1976 question passed, unlike the 1974 one, was that it was more specific in nature. The 1974 campaign indicated that casinos would most likely be in Atlantic City, but the resolution itself did not indicate a specific location. Thus, proponents of the 1974 resolution “later admitted that a large number of voters apparently rejected the proposal simply because they did not want to see casinos in their own community.”[1] In 1976, the resolution clearly stated that casinos would only be legal in Atlantic City, making voters far more comfortable with the idea.