CASINO

North Jersey casino plan possible in 6 years, says racetrack owner

TAGs: jeff gural, meadowlands, North Jersey

The owner of a New Jersey racetrack is willing to wait six years to summon the dead North Jersey casino plan initiative back to life.

North Jersey casino plan possible in 6 years, says racetrack ownerA proposal to allow two new casinos in northern New Jersey sustained an overwhelming defeat in last November’s referendum but Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural isn’t giving up his dream of building a casino there.

The Associated Press reported that Gural is planning to revive a casino expansion referendum after six years. By that time, Gural pointed out that neighboring New York state will have already opened three more casinos and residents of New Jersey will be begging for a casino to compete against them.

“I can last as long as it’s going to take,” Gural said at the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City. “I’d rather wait six years until New York is either open or ready to open, and then voters will say, ‘Wait a minute.’”

North Jersey casino proponents may raise the casino expansion plan anew in next year’s referendum but Gural believes it’s best to wait six years in order to increase the chances of winning.

On a personal note, the racetrack owner admits that he doesn’t want “to try again and lose again.”

“It would be very difficult to lose twice and have it pass on a third try. The best way to ensure I win is to have New York open three casinos just over the bridge,” he said.

Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen echoed Gural’s proposal, saying “We’re in it for the long haul, whether it’s a year or six years.”

Waiting six years, according to Gural, means going head to head with three new competitors in the vicinity and the possibility of decreased revenues.

“We’re slicing up the same pie, but there’s enough people” in the region for all to prosper, he said.

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