Casino Conversations Continue Throughout New Jersey
Earlier this month a proposal to build a big, new casino in the Meadowlands was unveiled. Over the last few days, lawmakers in Essex, Hudson, Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset Counties have indicated they should also be added to the casino conversation.
Any casino gambling outside Atlantic City will require passage of a ballot question in the form of a constitutional amendment, but before that can even happen, the Legislature must approve a measure - by a three-fifths majority - to place such a question on the November ballot. Right now, however, it's unclear if Legislative leaders will agrees to even consider such an action before the Aug. 3 deadline.
According to Roger Gros, the publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine, the discussion about having casinos all over the Garden State is escalating.
"I mean, we've got a saturated market already, and the fact that each of these jurisdictions want to add a casino is pretty crazy," he said. "They just need to step back, take a look at the casino market and understand it's just not going to work."
He was quick to point out however, allowing one or two casinos in North Jersey would make sense because they would be so close to New York City.
Gros also said you could probably make a case for allowing a casino in the Camden area, right next to Philadelphia.
"But if you're going to bring them down along the shore, or into Central Jersey, it's just not going to work," he said. "There's no way there's enough of a market.
Gros said allowing a casino in Newark would be just as crazy as allowing one down the shore in Ocean County.
"It definitely would not work," he said. "It's not working in Atlantic City, you can see that already, so why would any other community try to copy what Atlantic City has done. It's total insanity."
Freeholders in Ocean and Monmouth counties declined to take a position on the idea of having a casino in their counties, but Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said "if North Jersey is going to be considered then Central Jersey ought to be considered also. We should study the possibilities of what it would mean to our County and both the workforce and county revenue."
Hughes also said Mercer County has the Delaware River waterfront, and perhaps "we would look at, in a family friendly way, making that part of our waterfront development."