The reality of seeing casinos in North Jersey got one step closer Monday afternoon.

Gov. Chris Christie, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced a deal Monday afternoon that would eventually ask voters to expand casino gaming to the northern part of the Garden State.

According to a press release from Prieto's office, Atlantic City casino license holders would have six months to submit proposals to build the new casinos and their plans must call for investing at least $1 billion in each facility. If that criteria isn’t met, those without Atlantic City licenses can bid to build the new casinos. They would also be required to invest at least $1 billion for each facility. In the same statement, Prieto said,

I’m very happy that we have reached a compromise agreement going into the next session. That it’ll bring world-class casinos to the north.  That that’s been one of the concerns of mine.  That it’ll be a first-class entertainment and that way we’ll be able to generate revenues that will take care of Atlantic City and the rest of the State of New Jersey. And it meets the expectations of what I’ve been looking all along is a compromise to make sure that the right type of casinos are built in the north to maximize the benefit for the State of New Jersey.

State Senator Jeff Van Drew also released a statement today regarding today's legislation,

I am very disappointed with the outcome of this vote. The truth is that there is only a defined amount of gambling that is going to happen in the state and opening casinos in North Jersey creates a problem in our region. Atlantic City and the surrounding area is already suffering with high unemployment, high foreclosure rates and outmigration. Allowing gaming elsewhere will devastate Atlantic City, creating further job loss and additional hardship for our residents. I hope I am wrong, but I believe that if these casinos are built, we are going to see some very tough times ahead.  I will not support this bill in any form, and I will continue to fight this proposal if it reaches the ballot.