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Weinberg Proposes Temporary Meadowlands Casino For Super Bowl XLVIII

MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands as seen from Chopper 880 - East Rutherford, NJ (credit: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880)

MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands as seen from Chopper 880 – East Rutherford, NJ (credit: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Super Bowl XLVIII is still nearly a year and a half away, but plans are well underway for the event.

One of those possible plans is a temporary casino at the Meadowlands. Some might call it a pop-up casino.

WCBS 880 anchor Steve Scott spoke with New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen County) about the proposal.

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Scott asked her why it’s a good idea.

“Well, we’re going to be having an extraordinary number of visitors to New Jersey for the Super Bowl. We are, in northern New Jersey where MetLife Stadium is located, about a two-hour drive to Atlantic City,” she said. “So, since all these folks are coming in and since we know that gambling is a kind of fun time during a week like that, we thought ‘Well, putting something right in the area where most of the people will be could attract more visitors, bring more income to the state of New Jersey, and give people who are coming in for the Super Bowl another venue to enjoy.”

Scott pointed out that Gov. Chris Christie has been adament about not allowing casino gambling outside Atlantic City.

“Have you heard from the governor or his people on this idea?” asked Scott.

“No. Not yet, and yes I do understand that and I think we are all invested in the success of Atlantic City. So, we are only talking about this for the one week of the Super Bowl,” Weinberg told Scott. “As you called it a ‘pop-up casino, which would have a beginning and an end, and we’re perfectly happy if one of the [Atlantic City] casinos themselves would run such an operation up here. So, it would improve an income stream for the casino, it would improve an income stream for the state of New Jersey, and, as I’ve said, it would help in providing another venue for folks to enjoy.”

“So, no ulterior motives, no cat out of the bag on gambling? You’re not trying to open the door to future expansion, at least with this particular pop-up casino?” asked Scott.

“Well, I think we know that the door can’t be opened for future casino gambling because I think the governor, and our legislative leadership, and certainly in the Senate, where I’m a member, have made it perfectly clear that they’re not going to entertain such an idea until they give Atlantic City some length of time to really improve,” said Weinberg. “And we were kind of talking about it among staff members. Atlantic City is doing kind of new ad programs which is headlined ‘DO AC’ or Do Atlantic City. So, if we got permission to do a pop-up casino in the Meadowlands, we could headline it ‘DO AC in the Meadowlands’ or ‘DO AC at the Super Bowl’ so that it really becomes kind of ancillary that week to Atlantic City.”

“Now this is New Jersey’s Super Bowl, but you can’t deny the behemoth across the river there – New York City. Is New York horning in on New Jersey’s Super Bowl?” asked Scott.

“You know, I know that New York is across the river. We pay $12 to drive across the George Washington Bridge to get there. So, I’m well aware of it,” she said. “But no. You know, there are plenty of attractions both in the city and in New Jersey. But the football stadium is located in New Jersey. The Super Bowl is going to be in New Jersey, and we would like to provide visitors as much of a glimpse of New Jersey as they can get on a cold winter’s day in coming in for the Super Bowl.”

Super Bowl XLVIII is February 2, 2014.

What do you think of the idea of a temporary casino for the Super Bowl? Sound off in the comments section below.