New Jersey

New Jersey Unsure on Casinos Outside AC

A new poll found that half of New Jersey residents oppose opening casinos outside Atlantic City.

The idea is being floated as a way to raise money that would go to Atlantic City, where casinos are struggling.

Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind poll released Monday found that 50 percent of New Jersey adults oppose the idea of opening gambling halls outside Atlantic City, while 42 percent favor the idea.

Residents were slightly more upbeat about putting gambling in the Meadowlands than at the Monmouth Park racetrack, if it were allowed outside Atlantic City. But, neither site had broad support.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney has said he is open to letting New Jersey voters decide through a referendum next year whether to amend the state Constitution and permit casino gambling in locations other than Atlantic City. 

Under proposals being considered, the operator of a casino at the Meadowlands race track would be taxed at a much higher rate than Atlantic City casinos and a certain as-yet unspecified percentage of that extra revenue would be returned to Atlantic City to help it deal with the in-state competition.

Sweeney said that whatever the percentage ultimately is, the money would be Constitutionally dedicated to help Atlantic City and could not be diverted to the state's general fund.

With the impending closings of the Showboat on Aug. 31 and Trump Plaza on Sept. 16, and the possible shutdown of Revel if a buyer isn't found at a bankruptcy court auction this week, as many as 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers could be without work by the end of the summer.

People who have visited casinos lately are more receptive to the idea of adding more.

The telephone poll of 819 randomly selected adults was conducted from July 14-20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us