The decision to end 40-years of Atlantic City’s monopoly and open two new casinos in Northern New Jersey rests with the public and the money men and women with a vested interest in the outcome start spending their millions in marketing dollar in an attempt to own those minds.
She is 65-years old.
She wakes up at 8 am on the dot, walks downstairs, goes to the front door and picks up her newspaper. A visit to the front room is next. The TV bursts into life as if by magic. Breakfast news. War, riots, murder, misery. She makes a cup of tea. She nestled into the groove of her couch, perfectly moulded to fit her exercise free ass. She turns up the volume, places her glasses over her nose, opens the newspaper, and the propaganda starts to invade her mind.
That’s the average voter who said ‘Yes’ to Brexit when David Cameron opened up the decision to leave the European Union (EU) by public vote. An ideology shaped by the imagery that is put in front of her and never questioned.
Some of us are on autopilot.
The UK will leave the EU because the LEAVE brigade did a better job of selling the right message to the voters than the REMAIN brigade.
And when I think that over 5,000 miles away politicians have asked New Jersey residents to start thinking about the possibility of breaking from 40-years of the law allowing two new casinos to open up in Northern New Jersey, that’s where my mind wanders. In June, the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind conducted a poll and found that 58% would vote NO to casino expansion.
And now the war begins.
It’s ironic that a war based on greed will cost the combatants millions of dollars in ad revenue. Those who want to kill casino expansion are more Usain Bolt like than their opponents.
A few weeks ago, a coalition called Trenton’s Bad Beat released a 30-second video using the angle that Trenton politicians can’t be trusted, citing property tax hikes and pension debt as a few reasons why.
The video makes a clear demarcation between the warring factions. It’s the working class New Jersey families versus ‘Rich Special Interest Friends.’ And it ends with the slogan ’New Jersey Casinos: A Risky Bet We Can’t Afford.”
A few days ago, a second video appeared in the mainstream, this time by a coalition known as: Trenton Can’t Be Trusted. The video is 30-seconds long, and although the production is different, the message is the same. It’s working class v wealthy politicians. This video also focused on the ailing Atlantic City, pointing to losses of revenue, rises in crime, and a myriad of other reasons why the operation in AC is a measuring stick of what could happen if casinos opened in the North.
The usual argument with the introduction of casinos is an increase in jobs. The Trenton Can’t Be Trusted coalition tries to argue that the opposite would happen if casinos arrive in Northern New Jersey.
The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council and the Queens Casino have also come out in opposition of the referendum this week. The union represents approx. 32,000 non-managerial workers and they are opposed to the introduction of casinos because the legislation doesn’t include a labour peace provision, giving casino owners the power to block unions trying to do their job as the UniteHere union is seeking to do in their spat with Carl Icahn in AC.
On the pro expansion side of things, a coalition called Our Turn New Jersey is hoping for state loyalty to come to the fore as they cast New York and Pennsylvannia in the role of villain. The angle is that the two States have stolen millions of dollars from New Jersey through their gambling operations which in turn is affecting New Jersey’s ability to look after the elderly using the slogan Let’s Take Back What is Ours.
The battle will roll on until Nov 8, 2016, when New Jersey residents will be asked to answer this question:
“Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit casino gambling in two additional counties in this State? At present, casino gambling is allowed only in Atlantic City in Atlantic County. Only one casino in each of the two counties would be permitted. Each casino is to be located in a town that is at least 72 miles from Atlantic City. The amendment would allow certain persons to apply first for a casino license.”
I suggest the answer lies not in the hearts of the men and women of New Jersey, but in the deep pockets and marketing acumen of the people fighting the war.