From the Star Ledger:
Several state lawmakers who want to allow casino gambling outside of Atlantic City are now seeking as many as three casinos in northern New Jersey — up from two.
The trio of state Assembly members from Essex, Bergen and Hudson Counties on Monday announced that they’ve introduced a proposed constitutional amendment — which, if passed by the Legislature, would have to be approved by voters — to allow the casinos in their three counties.
Revenue from the casinos would in part go to redeveloping Atlantic City, which has been devastated by the downturn of its gambling industry largely due to competition from neighboring states.
“We can’t sit by any longer. The history of Atlantic City is one I was part of,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), a former casino executive who is sponsoring the resolution with Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), said during a Statehouse press conference. “The business has changed. We’ve had tremendous competition from our neighboring states… If you don’t adapt, you become extinct and you become a dinosaur.”
The number has increased to three in the newest proposal as support for expanding gaming has increased, with formerly staunch opponents like Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Gov. Chris Christie now being open to it.
“I’ve been fighting for this for six or seven years. When I started this effort, people thought it was folly. This has become a reality,” Caputo said.
Already, potential operators and investors are pitching casino plans for The Meadowlands and Jersey City. Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo thinks Newark would be an ideal location for one.