In 2015, New Jersey’s Senate voted « No » to a referendum aimed at allowing two new casinos near New York City, including one in the Meadowlands. The decision that was taken in order to save Atlantic City, where casino industry has been suffering a lot during the past three years. Proponents had to wait at least two years before putting it on the ballot again but today, they say they prefer waiting to be sure that they win, however long it takes.
2015: No casino near New York City to save Altantic City
Two years ago, when Senate voters were asked whether or not they should let open two casino near New York city, they rejected the project by nearly 80 percent on the basis that Atlantic City, which casino industry was suffering a lot at the time, needed the exclusivness of this sector.
The thing is that today, Altlantic City’s seven surviving casinos have stabilized their finances after a brutal three-year stretch in which five of them shut down, costing more than 11,000 jobs. New York and New Jersey will consequently need revenue and the one thing a Meadowlands casino would do is send $500 million a year to the state.
« However long I have to wait, I’ll wait »
Still, Jeff Gural, owner of the Meadowlands Racetrack where the new casino would go, says he’s prepared to wait as long as needed to let voters approve the project. He fears indeed that if the vote is rejected again, the project will never be accepted in the future. Casino fans will have to make do with other casino options like www.casinosavenue.com meanwhile.
It is true that the first referendum lacked precision : the location of the two casinos was vague, the rate they would be taxed at was not specified and, most important, the dividing of resulting tax money between Atlantic City’s horse racing industry, host towns and counties and programs for senior citizens and the disabled was not clearly set.
Maybe a new referendum in 2019?
Where Jeff Gural sees some hope, is that New York State is about to open three more casinos in the southern part of the state in the next five years according to him. The argument about saving Altantic City will then not be coherent anymore and with a solid project, he hopes that all the chances will be on his side.
Amongst voters, some see the opening of a new casino as an opportunity to create more jobs, like democratic Governor-elector Phil Murphy. Senator Paul Sarlo, whose district includes the Meadowlands Racetrack, even said a referendum could be considered as soon as next year if the proposal is well structured.