After the referendum on the New Jersey casino expansion, 2016 might see the biggest gambling-related change within the state.
New Jersey legislators proposed a constitutional amendment that would call for a referendum, allowing residents to decide on the casino expansion in the state. The vote, concerning two North Jersey casino proposals, is scheduled for November, 2016. According to the plan, the new gambling venues would be at least 75 miles from Atlantic City and in separate counties.
“The question of gaming outside of Atlantic City has long been debated, now is the time for the voters to decide,” stated Stephen Sweeney, the President of the Senate. If the voters decide for the New Jersey casino expansion, it has to be implemented in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. According to US gambling news, the reason for this is that the Constitution allows casinos only in Atlantic City.
The possible effects of the New Jersey casino expansion
Under the current proposal, for the first 15 years 49 percent of the new casino’s tax revenues would go to Atlantic City. As Sweeney explained “expanding gambling to north Jersey is the best way to revitalise an industry that is important to the state’s economy.” The revenues would help to revive Atlantic City casino industry, which was shook by the loss of more than 8,000 jobs after the closing of four casinos. Furthermore, 49 percent of the remaining tax revenues would go to aid senior citizens and 2 percent to horse racing tracks.
Many of the interested parties have voiced their concerns, including New Jersey legislators and the Casino Industry Association. “Personally, I have a concern about the Atlantic City percentages,” said state Senator Paul Sarlo. “North Jersey casinos would be disastrous for our local economy, driving jobs and investment out of our region,” commented Senator Jim Whelan, former Atlantic City mayor. “The last thing this community needs is more competition from within our own state’s borders,” added the Casino Association of New Jersey.