Both the Republican and Democrat candidates voiced their support during a final gubernatorial debate.
US.- Republican Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy, candidates for governor of New Jersey, voiced their support for the expansion of casino gambling outside Atlantic City during the last debate that took place on Thursday.
Whilst Murphy said that he’s a strong supporter of the idea of having casinos outside Atlantic City, the Republican candidate said that they should wait to treat the subject on a ballot once the city’s economy gets stabilised. But one things is for sure: they are both counting on considering the expansion to North Jersey, no matter who gets elected.
Even if they both support the idea, voters rejected by a wide difference the constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot that would have allowed two casinos in North Jersey. Supporters of the initiative said that North Jersey needed to recapture gambling revenues that are being lost to casinos in neighboring states like New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania, whilst opponents said that they would only hurt casinos in Atlantic City.
“It’s a huge job creator, and we’re desperate for jobs. No. 2, if it’s not in North Jersey, before we know it, it will be on the west side of Manhattan,” said Murphy, who leads the public opinion polls by double digits. He also believes that northern casinos could add significant revenues to Atlantic City, Times Online reported. “My fear is if there’s a casino on the west side of Manhattan, they won’t send one red cent to Atlantic City. I’d rather that gaming, and those jobs created, be in New Jersey,” he added.
Guadagno, who served as current Governor Chris Christie’s lieutenant for eight years, said that New Jersey should wait until Atlantic City’s finances are more stabilised before reviewing the expansion. “Once Atlantic City is stabilized, yes, I believe we should put on the ballot the question of whether we have gaming up north. And I agree, if someone is going to get the jobs, we should get the jobs,” she said.
Voters could be asked to approve a constitutional amendment to expand casinos outside Atlantic City no earlier than the 2018 general election because the state constitution requires lawmakers to wait two years before placing the same or a similar amendment on the ballot than one that was previously rejected.
Steve Rogers and Jack Ciatarelli, candidates who lost to Guadagno in the primary elections, both agreed that expanding gambling in New Jersey outside of Atlantic City could be a good idea.