Atlantic City keeps resisting two new casinos in North Jersey

Ballot question will let voters decide whether to install or prohibit two casinos 72 miles away from AC.

The “No North Jersey Casinos” coalition is presenting to November’s voters arguments against the two new casinos in New Jersey.

US.- After the New Jersey Senate passed the referendum to let voters define the state’s position as to allow or not two casinos which are going to compete directly with Atlantic City, business groups put together the coalition “No North Jersey Casinos” to defend casino workers.

Atlantic City, the gambling town of New Jersey, has been suffering revenues’ decline since 10 years now. Currently, the city is fighting several legal battles to get out of the crisis, but the creation of new casinos in the state is its priority concern. As the coalition argues, the economic situation in the city and in Cape May counties could be even worse, especially for workers and businesses.

“When we look at our regional economy, if Atlantic City continues to lose more footing, that’s not good for anyone. I’m disheartened to see this has become a polarised North Jersey-South Jersey issue. We are New Jersey. We need to be making decisions in the best interest of all residents of the state,” expressed Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and participant at the “No North Jersey Casinos” coalition. Clark also explained that regional workers and small companies deeply depend on making businesses and transactions with casinos.

The coalition is seeking society’s support and more members –among elected officials, civic groups and voters– to join the fight against the ballot. The Cape May County chamber sent an urgent note to recruit new members. “The opposition to the referendum has to get organised and come up with a consistent message for voters,” expressed Steven Perskie, Superior Court Judge and former organiser of the 1976’s campaign in favour of gambling in Atlantic City. Perskie added that allowing more casinos in North Jersey to secure the economy means misreading the market. “It will cannibalise other casinos,” he suggested.

“We would hope to organise the entire southern part of the state. If you’re a business organisation looking at this through business eyes, you know how bad an idea it is,” concluded Joseph Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber. Kelly expects to raise money for the coalition to spread the message, as it happened in 1976 when the pro-gaming campaign achieved US$10 million in today’s dollars. Many of the coalition’s members are the same opponents to the bill who testified against it in 2015 putting expanded gaming to voters.