TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Plans have stalled, but have not stopped, when it comes to seeing whether New Jersey voters want casinos outside of Atlantic City.
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, state lawmakers have until August to get the issue on the November ballot next year.
State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) said she thinks it is possible that the proposed referendum will make the cut.
Weinberg said letting voters decide on whether to allow two North Jersey casinos was mainly stalled by lawmakers not to agree on one key part – “how much money of that tax revenue, as it comes in, will go back to Atlantic City.”
“So there is a stalemate there,” Weinberg said.
Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Jim Kirkos said lawmakers should keep in mind that tax revenue will help Atlantic City turn form gambling to more of a resort town.
“So how they’re not about to come up with a compromise is quite frankly very disheartening,” Kirkos said.
Kirkos wants one of the new casinos in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford.
If voters agree to amend the state constitution to permit casinos beyond Atlantic City, it would mark the biggest change in legalized gambling since casinos began operating in the seaside resort in 1978.
It also would create an existential challenge to Atlantic City’s eight casinos at the same time providing them a lifeline of new revenue from hefty taxes the new casinos would pay.
At the Meadowlands, Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack unveiled plans in June for a $1 billion casino at the sports complex, next to the stadium where the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants play.
Another leading proposal for a site is for Jersey City, where footwear magnate Paul Fireman has proposed a casino costing up to $5 billion.
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