Prominent personalities in Bergan County are concerned that the ongoing debate regarding Atlantic City’s future, may hinder the casino referendum in November.
US.- Last week, business, labour and political leaders in Bergan County stated that efforts to bring a casino to the Meadowlands Racetrack should not be negatively affected by the ongoing debate regarding Atlantic City’s economic failure.
Meadowlands Regional Chamber President Jim Kirkos and Bergen County Building and Trade Councils President Rick Sabato, released a joint statement in which they highlighted that thousands of permanent jobs and construction jobs would be created by the opening of a casino at an “ideal location such as the Meadowlands Sports Complex,” and they added that, “while we want to see Atlantic City recover and its gaming sector succeed, we can’t lose focus or momentum on our long-fought efforts.”
Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge backs up Kirkos and Sabato stance, outlining that the chances of the referendum passing may be harmed by the extensive media attention regarding Atlantic City’s desperate situation. According to Sarlo, a section of the referendum that pledges as much as US$200 million of annual casino tax revenues from North Jersey being redirected toward the non-gambling economic development of Atlantic City could turn voters off.
The terms of the referendum state that bids for the New Jersey proposed casinos must be controlled by an Atlantic City casino operator. There have been discussions about a projected US$1 billion casino at the Meadowlands Racetrack and a proposal for a US$4.6 billion Jersey City luxury casino complex and spa near Liberty National Golf Club, but since none of the bidders is an Atlantic City casino operator these proposals are uncertain.
Furthermore, Governor Chris Christie recently declared that he will retract from his support to the November referendum asking approval from voters for two casino licenses in northern New Jersey, if the Legislature does not send the Atlantic City takeover bill to his desk.