Despite state leaders making a push for legalizing casino gambling in New Jersey, majority of the people in the state are still opposed to expanding casino gambling outside the confines of Atlantic City.
According to the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, 56% of voters surveyed have expressed opposition to putting up casinos in New Jersey beyond Atlantic City. On the flip side, 35% voiced their support to adding casinos.
The general opposition towards the expansion of casinos outside Atlantic City comes as validation for those who think that Atlantic City, despite its current struggles, still needs time to re-establish itself as a gambling destination. Gov. Chris Christie has even gone on record saying that AC needs at least five years to get its footing back and allowing casinos to expand in locations like the Meadowlands will only undermine Atlantic City’s chance of reviving itself.
With the results of the survey, it appears that most New Jerseyans are in Christie’s corner. “The appetite to expand casino gambling options beyond Atlantic City for New Jerseyans is not there yet,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and a professor of political science at the university, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
Despite the results showing a majority of the state’s citizens voicing opposition towards casino gambling expansion, lawmakers on the other side of the fence are still working just as hard in convincing everyone that the alternative – in this case, expansion – is the most ideal way to go. One of them is Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a Democrat from northern New Jersey, who is trying to get a Constitutional amendment on the ballot next year, one that would allow for casino expansion in areas like the Meadowlands.
“When things are not going your way, it’s time to re-assess,” Caputo said. “There’s a downturn in the economy, there’s fierce competition from other states, and we’ve seen billions of dollars in casino revenue leaving the state. The facts speak for themselves; they just need to be communicated to the public.”
Clearly, there’s still plenty of room for discussion on this issue, especially when you take into account that business in Atlantic City aren’t exactly improving the way everyone would have liked. You have influential lawmakers on both sides of the fence and the poll that was done by PublicMind doesn’t come close to capturing the general majority of people’s opinions. Nevertheless, you can expect this issue to drag on in the coming months. Heck, it may even take a few years.
The only possible scenario that could derail casino gambling expansion in New Jersey is if Atlantic City somehow manages to turn things around. But the way business is down there, you won’t find a whole lot of people confidently hitching on that wagon.