New Jersey Legislators Prepare Bill for Casino Expansion

Updated on January 7, 2016

casino expansion NJNew Jersey lawmakers are looking to expand casinos to northern New Jersey. Today all of New Jersey’s casinos are located within Atlantic City. However, this past year four casinos shut their doors, leaving only eight remaining open. The idea is to provide licenses for two new casinos, which would open at least 75 miles from Atlantic City. One of the proposed locations is at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. The second location is yet to be determined, but it is said that it will be somewhere in Jersey City.

According to state Senator Ray Lesniak, “Casino expansion will create jobs and generate economic growth for the entire state. This is an opportunity we have to capitalize on. Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature should work together on a plan that can go to the voters for approval on the next ballot in November of 2016.”

Right now there are various competing versions of the proposal in the Senate and Assembly. The main difference in these proposals revolves around who the license would be given to. The Senate bill would have both licenses given to existing Atlantic City casino operators while the version from the Assembly only calls for at least one.

Once a proposal is chosen it would be put before voters. They would decide whether or not it is time to amend the New Jersey Constitution to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City. For the vote to pass there must be at least three-fifths approval during the new session, which begins on January 12.

According to Deutsche Bank, casinos in the northern part of New Jersey could generate over $500 million in the course of a year.

Even with the four closures, current garden state casinos brought in over $500 million during the 2015 fiscal year.  By making casinos available outside of Atlantic City, this number could easily double over the coming years. Online gambling is also on the rise, as November broke records and brought in $13.2 million compared to the $8.7 million during November of 2014.

If voters agree to allow casino expansion outside of Atlantic City, there are bound to be positive effects on the total revenue generated for the New Jersey government. The public will also see more dollars in their pocket as the impact of the changes start to become more apparent. Nearby states have also been expanding casino licenses, and New Jersey will certainly not be left behind.

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