From the Star Ledger:
Business and community leaders huddled in the Meadowlands this morning to discuss the district’s next big bet: casinos.
With Atlantic City’s gaming industry sputtering, lawmakers are looking to revisit the question of whether to expand casino gaming outside its borders, with the Meadowlands being a likely target.
Last month, the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce released the results of a survey of 93 northern New Jersey businesses, 76 percent of whom felt that the best place to put a new gambling facility would be the Meadowlands Sport Complex.
Talk of a possible 2015 referendum has the chamber updating its 2011 “vision plan” for the region to include as many as four casino-style gambling facilities.
The expanded plan includes a resort casino district, a so-called “racino” with slot machines at the Meadowlands Racetrack, a convention center and expanded parking to accommodate visitors to the facilities, as well as the long-stalled American Dream Meadowlands project, where construction is expected to return in full swing soon.
“A casino will allow the Meadowlands to draw on an already existing customer base that wants to gamble and be entertained, but is currently driving past us to get to casinos in nearby states,” chamber president Jim Kirkos said before the meeting.
Atlantic City’s gaming revenues have been on a downward trend since 2006, falling from a high of $5.2 billion to $2.8 billion last year. Industry analysts attribute much of that decline to competition from neighboring states that have legalized gambling. Those who support pushing New Jersey gaming northward say it could help recapture some of the revenue bleeding outside state borders.
Another proposal would put a $4.6 billion casino project next to Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City.
Meanwhile, more out of state competition is looming, with four resort-style casinos expected to be approved in New York state by fall, according to The New York Times.