NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Ras Baraka and other local officials pitched Newark as the ideal location for a new New Jersey casino Wednesday.

Currently, Atlantic City is the only New Jersey municipality where casino gambling is permitted. But lawmakers are trying to get a referendum on the November ballot to allow up to three casinos in northern New Jersey, and local officials want one of them in Newark.

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Baraka, along with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and other local officials, held a news conference to pitch a Newark casino. They emphasized that Newark is a transportation hub with burgeoning economic development, and is becoming known as a destination city for arts, culture, entertainment and business.

“Casinos are coming to North Jersey and if Newark doesn’t get it, another city will and they will net the benefits. The casino itself is just a portion of our overall economic development plan,” Baraka said in a news release. “All combined, this development could bring more than 4,000 permanent jobs to the citizens of our city.”

Last week, Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack unveiled plans for another new casino.

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A New Jersey Music Hall of Fame, 5,000 slot machines, 200 gaming tables, at least 10 restaurants and four bars are all part of the plans for the new facility, which would be named the Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands.

Casino officials said that project would bring more than 10,000 jobs to the area and generate more than $400 million in yearly revenue — some of which would go toward helping the struggling Atlantic City, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

Atlantic City has opposed every attempt to even consider legislation expanding casino gambling beyond its borders. Last year four of the city’s 12 casinos shut down, and gambling revenue has been falling steadily for eight years, even without in-state competition.

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