Casinos Outside Atlantic City are No Sure Bet in NJ
Momentum may be building for casinos in New Jersey to be located elsewhere than Atlantic City, with dueling proposals being made for casino-hotel megaplexes at the Meadowlands and in Jersey City.
Peter Woolley, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said there are two components standing in the way of allowing casinos outside of Atlantic City -- and overcoming either obstacle is not a sure thing.
"One side of this is, you're going to have to cut a lot of deals with other people in the state if you're going to allow casinos outside of Atlantic City, because Atlantic City is going to want a piece of it," Woolley said. "Xanadu (the former name of the American Dream project at the Meadowlands) is going to want a piece of it. The racetracks are going to want a piece of it."
For the insiders and developers, this would be a complicated undertaking, and Woolley also said getting the residents of New Jersey to go along with the plan could be iffy at best. Public support is needed because voters would have to approve amending the state constitution to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City.
"The public is going to have to give the green light or the red light to this kind of development, and there's a large part of the public which sees Atlantic City as a failure and doesn't want to replicate that failure outside of Atlantic City," Woolley said.
There's also a portion of the voting public that doesn't approve of gambling at all, according to recent FDU-PublicMind polls, and that could present another problem for supporters of expanding gaming.
"We've asked a number of times over the years whether the public would allow gaming outside of Atlantic City, and the response that comes back every time is opposed," Woolley said.