NJ residents: no more casinos

September 24, 2012 1:07 pm

Most New Jersey residents are opposed to allowing more casinos outside of Atlantic City, according to a new poll.

The poll found 56 percent of voters oppose casinos elsewhere in the state, while 35 percent said casinos should be located outside of Atlantic City. The poll was conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University and comes as some lawmakers in North Jersey are pushing to allow casinos in the Meadowlands as a way to generate more tax revenue from gambling losses.

The push to add more casinos across the state is in response to the steep drop in gambling tax revenue coming out of Atlantic City, due in large part to increased competition from Pennsylvania and other area states. At the same time, New York lawmakers, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, want to legalize commerical casinos in the Empire State. Such a move could further cut into the number of gamblers traveling to Atlantic City – manily to lose money.

However, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic lawmakers in South Jersey oppose adding more casinos in other parts of the state. Instead, they want to focus efforts to lure gamblers back to Atlantic City. But so far those efforts – which include a new casino, a new marketing campaign and cuts in regulation – have yet to stop the bleeding in Atlantic City.

But at least most voters in New Jersey understand that the answer to the drop in gambling is not more gambling. Perhaps they know that 30-plus years of gambling Atlantic City has failed to revitalize that shore town. Not to mention that adding casinos in other cities is not a worthy policy when it comes to generating jobs or tax revenue.

More gambling up the Jersey Turnpike?

March 28, 2012 12:55 pm

Atlantic City is banking on the new Revel Casino to help boost its sagging gambling fortunes. But the casino isn’t even open and already some New Jersey lawmakers want to expand gambling to the Meadowlands in Northern Jersey.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver announced plans to hold legislative hearings to bring gambling to the Meadowlands on the same day Gov. Christie toured the $2.4 billion Revel casino in Atalntic City. (Not to boast, but I predicted as much in a recent piece for Philadelphia Magazine.)

The problem is this: the spread of gambling is like an arms race. Each time a state legalizes casinos or adds a new form of gambling, the neighboring states scramble to top that move in order to compete. In Atlantic City, the casinos have been hammered by the expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania. Now, that New York is moving to legalize commerical casinos, many Jersey lawmakers are pushing for casinos in the Meadowlands in order to keep gamblers from going to the Empire State. The same thing is happening in Delaware (see post below).

The idea of casinos in the Meadowlands may be on hold in the short term. That’s because Christie rejected the idea now that he has bet big on Atlantic City through the $261 million taxpayer-financied bailout he gave to Revel and money-saving regulation cuts the state gave the casino industry. Here’s a sure bet: Once the novelty of the Revel wears off, and casinos in New York open, the pressure will build to bring casinos to the Meadowlands.