NEWARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — For all intents and purposes, New Jersey lawmakers have just a couple of weeks to add a referendum to the November ballot that would legalize casinos outside Atlantic City, the Assembly’s speaker said Wednesday.

Officially, the state Legislature has until Aug. 3 to put the question on the ballot. But when taking into account the lengthy process and the summer break, “it would have to be done sometime before July,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Pireto, D-Secaucus, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

The questions about how many casinos might be added in northern New Jersey and where exactly they’d be located looms large.

Prieto said he’s in favor of approving up to three casino licenses.

“It doesn’t mean three get built,” he said, adding he prefers to keep options open for down the road.

On Wednesday, Mayor Ras Baraka and other local officials pitched Newark as the ideal location for a new New Jersey casino.

“Casinos are coming to North Jersey and if Newark doesn’t get it, another city will and they will net the benefits,” Baraka said in a news release.

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

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.

In Jersey City, there are plans for a high-rise waterfront casino complex next to Liberty National Golf Course and Liberty State Park, potentially with auto racing.

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