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State Lawmakers Say Possible Casinos In Jersey City, Camden, Newark On The Table

Casino (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Casino (file/credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Politicians in northern New Jersey have long pushed for a casino at the Meadowlands race track in East Rutherford.

But New Jersey’s senate president says if gambling is ever expanded beyond Atlantic City, the Meadowlands is no sure bet.

“We were looking outside Atlantic City. I gotta tell you, why would I limit it to Monmouth Park or the Meadowlands?” State Sen. President Steve Sweeney told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

Sweeney told the Press of Atlantic City the state could opt for casinos in distressed cities like Camden, Newark or Jersey City instead of at a racetrack.

He told the newspaper’s editorial board on Thursday that those cities could benefit from the economic benefits of a casino.

“You would want it to go where the market feels it’s going to have its most success,” Sweeney told Putney.

In Friday’s Eye On Politics segment on WCBS 880, Steve Scott asked Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop about possibly bringing a casino to his city.

“We would welcome a casino opportunity. I think that a casino in Jersey City would be probably amongst the top grossing casinos in this region if not in the entire country if you think about our proximity to New York, our geographic access from mass transportation,” Fulop told Scott. “There’s a lot of reasons to think that it would be a huge success.”

Fulop said he has not discussed the proposal with Sweeney.

Sweeney also said the state-imposed tourism district in Atlantic City needs to be given the full five years that Gov. Chris Christie promised before considering gambling elsewhere in the state.

Christie said in December that the five years began in Feb. 2011.

Sweeney added he’s not counting out AC, now that United Airlines in flying out of the AC airport.

“One of the biggest deterrents that Atlantic City has is you fly into Philadelphia,” said Sweeney.

He said casino revenues in Atlantic City are sagging, but non-gaming revenues are at record levels.

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