New Jersey is in the middle of a five year gambling revitalization program to support the beleaguered casinos along the Atlantic City boardwalk. Part of the strategy involved launching online gambling domains with servers housed inside the Atlantic City casinos to increase total revenues for the gaming venues.
But the New Jersey state legislature is debating a proposal to expand casino gambling outside of Atlantic City. Though the government sees value in broadening the state’s gambling base, lawmakers in the southern half of the state are fiercely opposed to the idea, fearing it would take even more business away from the Atlantic City casinos.
The proposed site is near the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, near the border with New York City. The complex is already home to entertainment centres that host the New York Giants and New York Jets in the NFL, the New Jersey Nets in the NBA, as well as a thoroughbred horseracing track.
The gambling reform proposal was championed by Governor Chris Christie, who eventually approved the online casinos after a tedious negotiation process. The state legislature also established a 13 member panel to review how the gambling reform is benefitting the New Jersey economy, and will decide on approving or disavowing casino expansion based on the program’s progress.
The expansion question may be answered by revenue reports from the Atlantic City casinos. The boardwalk already lost the Atlantic Club to bankruptcy, and many other venues are struggling to survive financially.
A committee of state assemblymen is scheduled to discuss the casino expansion proposal today, but few lawmakers expect the motion to be put to a vote just yet.