A study revealed that the majority of New Jersey residents oppose casino expansion in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The majority refused
New Jerseyans don’t want to see local casinos expand outside of Atlantic City.
‘Rare bipartisan agreement’
This is according to a study conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), a private institution in Teaneck, NJ. The study noted a “rare bipartisan agreement” in which 51% of local residents opposed casino expansion, while only 37% supported it.
New Jersey has been a productive member of the sports betting and casino communities since both were legalized in 1977 and 2018, respectively. However, the latest study shows that a slight majority want to frolic in the face of nationwide pressures amid the gambling boom.
New Jersey casino climate
There are nine casinos in New Jersey, all located in Atlantic City. As of the end of September, these casinos have been published Year-to-date revenue combined is $2.13 billion. The online gambling operations, which were legalized in 2013, generated a combined revenue of $5.06 billion, which in turn generated $879.48 million in taxes.
It is clear that New Jersey casinos are not in danger of extinction, but there is still reason to consider expansion, thanks to pressure from the Big Apple.
There is a lot of pressure to open new casinos in Jersey.
“Competition from new casinos opening soon in New York City and the endless search for new revenue streams means there is a lot of pressure to open new casinos in Jersey,” said Dan Cassino, FDU Professor of Government and Politics and executive director of the survey. . “But if the state wants those casinos, they’re going to have to change a lot of minds.”
Casino expansion would require an amendment to the state constitution, which currently restricts casinos in Atlantic City. Both the General Assembly and the Senate can propose amendments, which must obtain at least three-fifths of the support of both chambers. If the proposal gets the necessary legislative support, it will be brought before the electors and must have the support of a majority.
The latest attempt at expansion failed to garner the necessary domestic support, fizzling out with the support of just 23% of lawmakers.
FDU commented that public objection to casino expansion could be one of the few remaining bipartisan positions. 50-54% of Republicans, Democrats, and independents polled expressed at least objection to moving casinos to new areas of the state.
Sports betting also had a small impact on voters, who expressed 50% opposition and 37% supported a similar poll in 2016 and 50% supported and 42% opposed in 2014.
None of the arguments made in favor of expansion led to any retraction.
“Views of casino expansion in New Jersey have been crystallized for years,” Cassino said. None of the arguments made in favor of enlargement mattered.
Lawmakers also still have to settle a highly contentious debate about smoking inside casinos. Policymakers have indicated they want to ban smoking, but property owners have argued such measures could lead to losing clients and slow their recovery from the pandemic.
In addition to measuring feelings about expansion, the survey asked participants to indicate their feelings about smoking inside casinos. Fifty-seven percent said they supported existing rules allowing smoking in certain areas, while 29% wanted an outright ban, and 12% thought smoking should be legal in any casino area.
A New Jersey judge also recently struck down a law that gave casinos millions of dollars in tax breaks, stating that the law aided the casino industry without a proper purpose.