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New Jersey Legislators Reach Casino Compromise
- January 13, 2016 By Oliver Young -
Lawmakers in New Jersey have reached a compromise on the plans to build two land based casinos in the northern part of the state.
In a press conference this Monday, legislators in the Garden State- Assembly speaker Vincent Prieto and the president of the state senate Stephen Sweeney- along with Gov. Chris Christie agreed to let voters decide in November whether two casino facilities are going to be built in North Jersey.
Gov. Christie told media that he is very pleased that the three of them reached a compromise. “After a lot of effort and extensive conversation among us we have finally reached an agreement on how to continue with the plans to expand gaming to North Jersey,” he said.
The agreement includes two concessions on the North Jersey casino plan. Firstly, casino operators in Atlantic City have a period of six months to come up with suitable casino project proposals. If none of the eight casinos don’t get a proposal in on time, lawmakers will look for proposals from other groups.
Secondly, each of the new casinos will require a $1 billion investment. According to Sweeney, this condition would require operators a real investment to the US state and not just build a venue with slots only. Prieto added that the $1 billion investment with ensure the construction of the right type of casino. He doesn’t care who will build the casino as long as it is constructed as it should. The compromise, however, doesn’t reveal information on the tax rate for the North Jersey casinos.
Where the casinos will be built is not clear yet, but it seems that the best locations are Jersey City and the Meadowlands in East Rutherford located near New York City.
The plan, once finalized, needs to be given thumbs up by the legislators in the next session taking place this week. If it is formally approved, voters will be asked if the constitution in New Jersey should be amended in order to allow casino gambling outside the borders of Atlantic City.
Will the Plan Affect the Already Declining Revenue in Atlantic City?
Sweeney also proposed that 1/3 of the tax revenue of North Jersey casinos would go to Atlantic City casinos as a way to help them financially. However, politicians in South Jersey have negative views on the plan are believe that the new casinos would greatly affect the declining casino revenue in Atlantic City.
Currently, there are 8 casinos in Atlantic City after four closed their doors in 2014. The same year Christie gave Atlantic City five years to rebound from the declining revenue slump before new casinos are being considered in other parts of the state. But gambling expanded nearby with Pennsylvania soon to open its 13th casino while New York gave three casino licenses.