The Meadowlands Liberty Convention & Visitors Bureau and Meadowlands Regional Chamber hosted the Meadowlands’ annual tourism & hospitality conference, mDest, today to gather business leaders and state legislatures who are advocating to expand casino gaming to Northern New Jersey. The casino gaming question will appear as a referendum vote on the electoral ballot on November 8–New Jersey residents will have the opportunity to vote ‘Yes’ for expanding gaming in New Jersey or ‘No’ to stop it.
One of the proposed locations for a casino is the Meadowlands Sports & Entertainment Complex in East Rutherford, which currently hosts MetLife Stadium (home to the New York Jets and the New York Giants) and the Meadowlands Racetrack. The complex is also the the location for the upcoming American Dream Meadowlands project, for which construction is set to resume in November.
The referendum to bring gaming to North Jersey comes as Atlantic City’s casino market continues to struggle and competition continues to grow in surrounding states. Five of Atlantic City’s casinos have shut down since 2014, with the Trump Taj Mahal just closing its doors this week, and the gambling revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion in 2006 to just $2.56 billion last year.
Under the current proposal, part of the tax revenues from a North Jersey casino would go toward supporting Atlantic City as it continues to develop its non-gaming assets. Business leaders and state representatives from North Jersey also believe that expanding gaming will bring in more tax revenue and economic development opportunities that can benefit the entire state.
Most of the financing for the anti-North Jersey casino groups has come from NY-based casino operators, who would be faced with competition if a billion-dollar rival casino did open in the Meadowlands and elsewhere in North Jersey.
Jeff Gural, who owns and operates the Meadowlands Racetrack, asserted that he does believe a casino will eventually be built at his location even if it does not go through with this referendum–perhaps in 5 or 6 years, he predicts. But he said he would no longer support giving tax aid to Atlantic City as the current proposal does. Gural is partnered with Hard Rock International on his plan.
We will continue to keep you updated on developments as we get closer to the referendum.
Materials From Today’s mDest event: