An initiative to expand casino gaming in North Jersey may have died but the people of Atlantic City believe that it’s only a matter of time before the plan rises from the grave.
The Press of Atlantic City reported several New Jersey lawmakers are trying to revive the proposal of casino expansion near New York City, almost two years after the electorate overwhelmingly rejected the idea.
Several bills aimed at expanding casino gaming in North Jersey were quietly filed at the start of the 2018-19 legislative session while everyone was busy waiting for the historic U.S. Supreme Court’s sports betting decision, according to Trenton’s Bad Bet Executive Director Bill Cortese.
Cortese zeroed in on Assemblyman Ralph Caputo’s ACR32 measure, which seeks to amend the state constitution to accommodate casino gambling in the northern parts of New Jersey.
Cortese said the measure got stuck in the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee, which was headed by Caputo. Nevertheless, Cortese vowed to continue opposing North Jersey casino expansion to preserve Atlantic City’s billion-dollar economic activity and the jobs of those who are living in South Jersey.
Veteran casino executive Steve Norton, considered the architect of bringing casino gaming to Atlantic City, believes that expanding gambling in North Jersey wouldn’t put Atlantic City at a disadvantage.
Gaming operators with existing gaming facilities in Atlantic City may also benefit should they construct another casino in North Jersey, according to Norton. He suggested that a portion of the revenue from North Jersey casinos could be allocated to Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City should understand that if they get taxes from the Meadowlands, it could be a win-win for everybody,” Norton said, according to the news outlet.
In November 2016, 78 percent of New Jersey voters thumbed down a ballot proposal to allow casinos outside Atlantic City. Proponents of the ballot lamented the outcome of the polls, claiming New Jersey would miss the chance to generate millions of dollars in tax revenues for the state and produce thousands of jobs.