Jersey lawmakers pondering casino outside of Atlantic City

dealers-choice-online-is-new-jerseys-only-hope-sideSince 1976, casino gambling in New Jersey has been limited to the confines of Atlantic City.

But a group of lawmakers are looking to change that with plans of bringing casino gambling further upstate, specifically in Bergen County.

The Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee has scheduled a hearing for today to discuss a bill exploring the possibility of taking casino gambling outside of the beleaguered resort town and into more financially well-off neighborhoods.

Tentatively dubbed AJR11, the bill would essentially create a new state commission – the Casino Gaming Study Commission – that would essentially study the effects of new casino legislation in neighboring states and determine whether it’s time for the state to do its own casino expansion within its borders.

The idea has been touched on before with supporters on both sides arguing for and against a groundbreaking move. Bergen County has been tabbed as an ideal location, too, in large part because the Meadowlands Racetrack sits right smack in the middle of the county and has been thrown around as a potential site for a casino. Last year, Jeff Gural, chairman of the Meadowlands Racetrack, estimated that a casino in the Meadowlands would generate as much as $350 million a year in revenues. No small change considering how Atlantic City has done in recent years.

On the flip side, those against such a move believe that if casinos have a future outside of the AC, then that’s all she wrote for the once proud gambling resort.

Taking both sides of the equation into consideration, the scheduled meeting will definitely have a whole lot of heated discussions.