Casino gambling expansion in New Jersey

The new casinos would be located in two northern counties, much closer to New York City than Atlantic City, the current gambling destination in the state.

US.- Both Assembly and Senate of New Jersey approved separate pieces of legislation that aim to expand casinos beyond Atlantic City, the traditional gambling hub now financially distressed.

The bills would ask state voters to issue on a ballot referendum in November 2016, and allow them to decide on the matter: to approve a state constitutional amendment allowing casinos in two northern New Jersey counties. Those venues will be far closer to New York City than Atlantic City, attracting most probably thousands of players.

Therefore many officials and casino operators fear that an increased competition would damage their economy. According to Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian the expanding gambling in the state would ultimately be “devastating” for his city.

However, as established in the Assembly measure, Atlantic City could also benefit from the expansion, since the piece of legislation approved says that, during the first 15 years, about a third of the new casinos’ gaming tax revenues would be directed to Atlantic City. Then it would decrease to a 20 percent.

Still there are many distinctions among both proposals that have to be resoluted before the legislative sessions end in January 12. If those issues are resolved -such as who should run the new venues-, in order to do the ballot both chambers have to approve the measure by a simple majority in two consecutive legislative years.