Support Waning For North Jersey CasinoSeptember 22, 2016 9:36 am
New Jersey voters will go to the polls on November 8th to decide whether to allow two new casinos to be built in north Jersey. If the referendum returns a positive result, then this would be the first time a casino has been opened in the state outside of Atlantic City since the New Jersey opened its first legal casino back in 1978.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (photo) has been campaigning in favor of the casino expansion in order to provide a boost to the state’s ailing economy, but recently Christie’s popularity has started to wane, and that is also reflected in his approval rating on a number of specific issues.
A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll of 802 adults, for instance, found that just 40% of respondents believed that casino gambling should be expanded to outside of Atlantic City, with 50% against the idea. Furthermore, just 35% approved North Jersey as a potential location for two new casinos, with 58% of the pollsters firmly against. Commenting on the poll results, Eagleton Center Interim Director Ashley Koning said in a statement:
“Eagleton has been polling on permitting gambling in other parts of the state since 1979, and New Jerseyans across a number of demographics have never warmed to the idea. If this pattern continues, there is little hope for the ballot amendment passing.”
Another huge factor standing in the way of a potential casino expansion is the borough of Oceanport, which sits two miles outside of the permissible casino building boundary which requires applicants to be located at least 72 miles from Atlantic City, and in a separate county. Oceanport therefore sees any casino expansion as a direct threat to its Monmouth Park Racetrack, and as Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey explains:
“Once again, Trenton politicians have put special interests over people by pushing for casino expansion into North Jersey. As currently proposed, this expansion would only benefit a small group of well-connected, New York developers, instead of the citizens of New Jersey.”