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New Jersey Citizens to Vote in 2016 on Casino Expansion outside Atlantic City
- December 14, 2015 By Oliver Young -
Citizens in New Jersey could play a big role in deciding whether two new casinos are going to open their doors in the northern part of the state. As of this writing, Atlantic City is the only place within the borders of New Jersey where casinos are legal.
Legislators introduced a new bill Last Friday that if approved, would result in the opening or two new casinos in North Jersey. State Sen. President Steve Sweeney told media that the proposed bill requires a referendum on a state level on whether the casinos should open in the northern part. As a result, all residents in New Jersey will vote in November 2016.
However, firstly, the legislature in the state has to give thumbs up to the proposal so that state citizens can vote. Important to mention is that if the majority of voters agree on the proposed bill, this would be the biggest change in the casino law in New Jersey since 1978 when the first land based casinos were built in the seaside resort.
Information Included in the Proposed Bill
The information in the bill reads that new casinos must be located at least 75 miles from Atlantic City. Moreover, they would pay a higher tax on gambling revenue. The existing land based casinos currently pay an 8 percent tax. Furthermore, the revenue generated from tax would go to an investment fund which would distribute cash to a number of causes. During the first 15 years, the money will be distributed as follows: 49 percent would go to the existing Atlantic City casinos to repay for their incurred losses, an additional 49 percent would go to the counties and municipalities and the remaining two percent would go to the horse racing industry.
One of the possible locations for the new casinos in New Jersey is East Rutherford. At the beginning of 2016, Hard Rock International proposed to build a resort and sports complex worth $1 million at the Meadowlands Racetrack. In addition, Hark Rock also offered to give 55 percent of its gambling revenue to the state. The second candidate for a new casino venue would likely be Jersey City. In this area businessman Paul Fireman proposed to build a luxury resort worth over $5 million.
Difference in Opinions
The State Senate President said that the plans to expand casino gambling within New Jersey has long been discussed and it’s now up to the voters to decide whether new casinos are going to be open. In his opinion, if new casinos open their doors it would revitalize the industry which is very important for the state’s economy.
However, not everybody welcomes the newly proposed bill. The New Jersey Casino Association pointed out that the seaside casino industry has just started to heal and stabilize after it was seriously hit by the completion in the neighborhood states. It also added that the last thing Atlantic City needs is a completion from within the state.