New Jersey Inching Toward Casino Vote
Lawmakers Still Vetting Plan To Have November Referendum
A legislative committee in New Jersey held a hearing Monday on the plan for a November referendum to decide whether to allow two casinos in the northern part of the state.
According to the Associated Press, opponents of the new casinos, which could be built in East Rutherford and Jersey City, expressed concerns that they would deal yet another blow to Atlantic City’s casino gambling market.
Four Atlantic City casinos closed in 2014, but revenues have remained somewhat steady since for the existing properties. The world’s largest poker site announced just last week that it will be launching in the Garden State this month, which is great news for the seaside gambling town that has been flirting with bankruptcy. Garden State online gambling sites have to be based in Atlantic City.
According to the AP report, a second hearing on the referendum plan is scheduled for next week in the State Assembly. The bill needs at least three out of five lawmakers in each legislative body to approve it. Then voters will be asked whether to allow the change to the state’s constitution.
The possibility of a statewide vote on the issue has already prompted Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack to partner up for a casino proposal. Deutsche Bank estimated that the casino could generate $500 million a year in gaming revenue, roughly one-fifth of all gaming revenue generated by Atlantic City’s eight remaining casinos in a year.
Atlantic City casino win in 2015 was $2.56 billion, down 6.5 percent from $2.74 billion in 2014. The market has been contracting ever since 2006’s record of more than $5 billion.
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