NJ Casino Referendum Will Not Gain Public Support
All the current signs indicate that the referendum to develop two new casinos in North Jersey will fail and Atlantic City will continue to maintain its monopoly over the New Jersey casino industry. The referendum which will be held in November is for a proposal to amend the state’s constitution to allow casinos to be built outside the current designated hub of Atlantic City.
Lawmakers have proposed to set up two casinos in North Jersey in order to counter increasing competition from casinos located in nearby states like New York and Pennsylvania.
However results from a recent survey carried out by Stockton University reveals that 68 percent of those surveyed in New Jersey oppose the proposal while 27 support it. Results from South Jersey showed that 74 percent of people from the region were against the expansion.
In a statement, Sharon Schulman, executive director of Stockton U.’s Hughes Center said
These results should provide some comfort to residents of the Atlantic City region, which has seen the loss of 5,400 casino industry jobs since the start of 2014. Clearly the voters – especially those in South Jersey – do not want to see Atlantic City casino competition within the state
Earlier poll results have also indicated similar trends. Rutgers released results of its survey in September which showed that 58 percent were opposed to the program. The poll revealed that even if the locations for the casinos had been decided upon, it would have had little effect on people’s opinion. Over 50 percent said that knowing the new casino locations would have had no impact on their vote and only 5 percent indicated that it would have played a role in their decision.
These results mirror the outcome of an internal survey carried out by a group of supporters for the casino expansion. The erstwhile Reebok chairman Paul Fireman and Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural who backed the ‘Our Turn NJ‘ campaign decided in September to suspend their media campaign after their internal survey showed a very slim chance of the referendum succeeding.
According to their survey, 50 percent of the population opposed the expansion while 37 percent expressed support. Gural said that the expansion plan’s economic benefits was failing to make an impact with the general public as it was getting lost in the allegations of mismanagement by the current administration. He further pointed out that many of the key details regarding the two North Jersey casinos had been left undecided which further added to the voters’ apprehension.
While the situation could change in the one month remaining for the referendum vote, the current polling clearly indicates that voters are not sold on the benefits of having more casinos in the state.
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