TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Atlantic City monopoly on New Jersey casino gambling may soon be coming to an end.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, state lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would let voters decide to allow the development of casinos outside Atlantic City.
The referendum would ask New Jersey voters to approve up to three casinos in Bergen, Essex, or Hudson counties. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) favors one in the Meadowlands.
“I would prefer only seeing one, and if the referendum passes, we can get proposals from all these casino moguls and pick out which one is best,” Weinberg said.
On Wednesday, Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack will unveil their plans for a casino at the East Rutherford track.
In addition to the proposal for a casino at the Meadowlands, where the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants play, footwear magnate Paul Fireman has proposed a casino in Jersey City on the Hudson River waterfront, directly across from Lower Manhattan.
There also has been talk of a casino in Newark, the state’s largest city, but that is seen as more of a longshot. Oceanport in Monmouth County, where the Monmouth Park Racetrack also wants a casino, would be excluded from consideration under the bill.
Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), said he supports two northern new Jersey casinos, adding that they would “create jobs, generate economic growth, restore the financial health of the state’s gaming industry, compete with casinos in border states and help Atlantic City through its fiscal crisis.”
Jeff Gural, the Meadowlands Racetrack president, has volunteered to pay the same 55 percent tax rate as Pennsylvania’s casinos do and share part of it with Atlantic City. He has said two northern New Jersey casinos could provide Atlantic City with $2 billion worth of subsidies over 10 years.