Even before the last 3 casinos closed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, people in outlying areas were vying for consideration to host casinos. Now that 4 A.C. casinos have closed, the city of Oceanport wants host city consideration and a casino at Monmouth Park raceway if gambling expands beyond Atlantic City.
The city council passed a resolution on Thursday that lines out their ideas for a slice of the pie. The city indicated that they support casino expansion as long as revenue is shared among the host town, the racing industry, and the race track.
Host cities bear infrastructure, public safety and other burdens when traffic and attendance increase at a racetrack or casino property. When proceeds also go to the industry race purses are increased so that they are competitive with surrounding states. Top horses, trainers, and riders tend to participate where the purses are higher, thus drawing in more fans. Breeders can also benefit from industry proceeds.
Oceanport is not alone in voicing a desire to expand gambling beyond Atlantic City. There have also been calls to see gambling come to Jersey City and The Meadowlands. Last year Monmouth Park sought to establish sports betting at the track, and statewide almost $3 million dollars was spent appealing court rulings upholding a prohibition against it. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually declined to hear the state’s appeal, maintaining the sports betting ban.
Although several lawmakers are rallying behind efforts to expand gambling, Governor Christie has mostly paid lip service to the idea and seems to stand behind his 5 year restructuring plan to return Atlantic City to its former stature as the central gambling hub in the Northeast. However, lawmakers like Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) are talking in real terms of placing a referendum on the November 2015 ballot to expand gambling to the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park race tracks, among other places.